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Also by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 











A Harvest Book 

A Helen and Kurt Wolff Book 

Harcourt Brace & Company 

San Diego New York London 


Foreword bv N. M. Wildiers 7 


The Heart of Matter 15 

The Christie 80 

The Last Page of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin s Diary 103 


Note on the Essence of Transformkm 107 

On My Attitude to the Official Church 115 

The Mass on the World 119 

At die Wedding of Odette Bacot and Jean Teilhard d'Eyry 135 
At die Wedding of M. and Mme de la Goublaye de Mdnorval 139 

My Intellectual Position 143 

Note on the Teaching of Prehistory 145 

The Basis of My Attitude 147 

My Phenomenon of Man : an Essential Observation 149 
At die Wedding of Christine Dresch and 

Claudc-ManeHaardt 150 

The Scientific Career of Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 152 

The Phenomenon of Man 155 
Qualifications, Career, Field-work and Writings of Pierre 

Teilhard de Chardin 157 


Nostalgia for die Front 167 

The Great Monad 182 

My Universe 196 

Note on the Presentation of the Gospel in a New Age 209 

The Names of Matter 225 

Chronological List of Works 241 

Bibliography 253 

Index 263 


At the head of this thirteenth and last volume of Pere TeilhardY 
essays stand two as yet unpublished writings of key importance: 
The Heart of Matter and The Christie. These are followed by a 
number of shorter pieces which have come to light; these are 
printed in chronological order. 

The Heart of Matter was written in 1950. Here P&re Teilhard 
exposes the very foundations from which arose the whole 
structure of his work. 'I have tried/ he says, 'to describe in a sort 
of autobiography the general process and the principal stages of 
"the emergence of the picture"/ So, almost at the very end of his 
life, Teilhard turns back and distinguishes with unmistakable 
clarity the two converging roads along which he has travelled: 
the road of Science and the road of Religion. And in so doing he 
sees, and allows us to see, the unity of his whole life. 

We cannot read such an essay without being reminded of 
Bergson's Philosophical Intuition: \ . . the more we seek to make 
ourselves at home in a philosopher's thought, the more his 
teaching becomes transfigured for us. In the first place, its com- 
plexity grows less. Then we see how one part fits into or leads 
into another. Finally the whole comes together at one single 
point, which we feel we might be able to come closer and closer 
to, even though we can never hope to reach it/ 1 

The main themes emphasized in The Heart of Matter - the 
Cosmic or the Evolutive, the Human or the Convergent - arc 
subordinate, we shall find, to another theme which embraces 
them both: the Christie or the Centric. At the peak of his thought 
Teilhard finds himself faced with God alone. It is then that he 
writes his Prayer to the ever-greater Christ, a prayer as yet unequalled, 
whether for its mystical depth, the width of its underlying 
scholarship, or the beauty of its language. 


After reading these pages we might well be inclined to think 
that Teilhard had said his last word; but The Christie was still to 
come. At the beginning of this '- dated in the month before his 
death - he explains his purpose : 'It is now many years since I tried, 
in The Mass on the World and Le Milieu Divin, when my views 
on these matters were not yet correctly focused or fully 
developed, to pin down in words my sense of dazzled wonder. 
Today, after forty years of continual thought, it is still the same 
fundamental vision that I feel I must put down and share with 
others in its mature form, for this one last time/ 

Providentially, The Christie is at hand to fill the gap caused by 
P£re Teilhard's religious obedience. He had, in fact, planned a 
second part of The Phenomenon of Man, which would have 
completed the first part by the addition of the Phenomenon of 
Religion, but his religious superiors had then ordered him to con- 
fine himself to the strictly scientific field. 8 

In the great symphony of Teilhard's writing, The Christie 
provides the coda to the last movement: and we may well con- 
sider how the resonance of those notes has endured since his 

Translation into twenty-two languages has spread his writings 
into practically every country in the world. Any number of 
books and articles have been written, whose aim has been closely 
and thoroughly to examine various aspects of his thought, and 
these have helped to illuminate its internal coherence and to 
correct mistaken interpretations. 

Even so, although Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wished and 
hoped to open up a road into the future which all men would 
hasten to follow, we have to admit that only a select few live 
with a clear awareness of an accelerated and irreversible evolution 
and of mankind's imminent transition into the era of synthesis. 
Nevertheless we should not overlook the progress that has been 
made since his day. 

In palaeontology, Professor Jean Piveteau, of the Institut de 
France, has shown, as against G. G. Simpson, how effectively 



Teilhard's influence lias directed palaeontology along new 
paths, particularly in relation to palaeoneurology. Teilhard would 
Have been delighted by the important discoveries that have been 
made since his day, some of which have been discussed by his 
learned colleague in his Origine et Destinie de V Homme. 

In biology, Professor Pierre Grass6 has been actively engaged 
in biological investigations which he has recently described in his 
masterly L'Evolution du Vivant. What he says there confirms 
Teilhard's views on evolution. 

Again in the field of evolution, Professor Francois Meyer has 
dealt impressively with the problem of the growing speed of 
change in relation to time in his La Surchauffe de la Croissance. 

In Le Macroscope Dr Joel de Rosnay, the young Director of 
Development at the Institut Pasteur, provides a comprehensive 
method of synthetic vision. 

Teilhard would have been entranced by these advances in 
science and would have recognized how they fitted into the 
hyper-physics he was opening up. 

Nor should we forget the discoveries that have been made by 
W. Dement, N. Kleitman, M. Jouvet, O. Petre-Quadens, and so 
many others in the field of die Physiology of Dreams. P&re 
Teilhard was very keenly interested in the problem of the 
awakening of consciousness, which was the central theme of his 
thought about man and the world. We may well hope for further 
investigation in the light of which the hypotheses he put forward 
may be tested. 

Although Pierre Teilhard was not a specialist in philosophy, 
metaphysics and theology, nevertheless the work he did in these 
fields remains of cardinal importance: as is illustrated by his 
Creative Union, The Struggle against the Multitude, A Metaphysk 
of Union, essays to which the first volume of his Journal provides 
valuable complementary material. 

Teilhard turned away from Scholasticism because its categories 
had ceased to be an apt medium for describing the world as we 
see it today; here he has been followed by such contemporary 


philosophers and theologians as Bernard Lonergan and Karl 

On the other hand, we can distinguish a certain convergence 
between Teilhard 9 s thought and that of Whitehead, who worked 
with Russell and became Professor of Philosophy at Harvard. 
Whitehead, it is true, did not know Teilhard, but we know from 
one of the latter's notebooks that he intended to read Science and 
the Modern World. 

However that may be, a comparison of their cosmological 
views brings out some points of evident kinship. Both emphasized 
the evolutive character of reality and the organic relationship of 
all events. 

For Whitehead as for Teilhard, our universe has a spiritual 
centre. It is a universe governed by a freedom which God respects ; 
but while, for Whitehead, the universe is evolving towards an ill- 
defined unification, for Teilhard it is eschatological and the 
consummation of its unity coincides with a fullness of maturity 
which brings about the final return of Christ. 

A similar kinship is apparent in the massive volume edited by 
Professor Ewert Cousins, Process Theology, which reprints Ian 
Barbour's excellent paper 'Whitehead and Teilhard de Chardin 9 . 

In the same way, we can foresee that P&re Teilhard 9 s theological 
views will continue to afford a wide field of study. Any number 
of books have already been written about this aspect of his 
thought, and his influence Has been reflected in many publications 
of all sorts, among which we may include, in the first place, some 
of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. 'The period 
dominated by scholasticism 9 , writes Bernard Lonergan, 'has 
reached its term. Catholic theology is in process of being re- 
structured 9 (Method in Theology, New York, 1972, p. 271). And it 
is already evident that this restructuring will not be accomplished 
without taking into account the problems raised by the work of 

The great task that now awaits us is to continue P&re Teilhard 
de Chardin s thought in the field of science, philosophy and 



theology beyond the limits that circumstances imposed upon him. 

If we do this - and only if we do this - the work he started will 

reach its full development and produce the fruit he hoped it would 


N. M. Wildiers 
Dr in Theology 

I. In The Creative Mind, trans. Mabel L. Adison, New York, 1946. 

a. When Pere Teilhard went to live in America, his religious superior allowed him 
full liberty to write what he pleased, and asked him to let him have copies of what he 




Introduction: The Burning Bush 15 

I The Cosmic, or the Evolutive 16 
Preliminary Note: The Sense of Plenitude 

a The Appeal of Matter 17 

b The Appearance of the Universal 20 

c The Discovery of Evolution 25 

II The Human, or the Convergent 29 
a The Reality of the Noosphere 30 
b Hie Stuff of the Noosphere 32 
c The Evolution of the Noosphere 36 

III The Christie, or the Centric 39 
Preliminary Note: The Reflection or Revelation of 
Omega Point 

a The Heart of Jesus 40 

b The Universal Christ 44 

c The Divine Milieu 49 

d Towards the Discovery of God, or an Appeal to 52 
Him who Comes 

Prayer to the Ever-Greater Christ 55 

Conclusion: The Feminine, or the Unitive 58 

Appendix: 1 Christ in Matter 61 

2 The Spiritual Power of Matter 67 



The Burning Bush 

At the heart of Mattel 1 
A World-heart, 
The Heart of a God. 

In spite of certain appearances of strictly rigorous argument, the 
considerations that follow make no attempt to work out a 
designedly coherent structure - a philosophy of the real. Rather 
do they aim at describing a direct psychological experience - 
with just that amount of hard thinking behind it that will enable 
it to become intelligible and communicable without losing the 
objective, indisputable value of a document that reflects life. 

What I shall try to do in the pages printed here (hoping that 
my own 'case 9 may make it possible for many other similar cases 
to be recognized or even to be brought into being) is quite simply 
this: to show how, starting from the point at which a spark was 
first struck, a point that was built into me congenitally, die 
World gradually caught fire for me, burst into flames; how this 
happened all during my life, and as a result of my whole life, until 
it formed a great luminous mass, lit from within, that surrounded 

Within every being and every event there was a progressive 
expansion of a mysterious inner clarity which transfigured them. 
But, what was more, there was a gradual variation of intensity 
and colour that was related to the complex interplay of three 
universal components: the Cosmic, the Human and the Christie - 
these (at least the first and the last) asserted themselves explicitly 
in me from the very first moments of my existence, but it has 
taken me more than sixty years of ardent effort to discover that 
they were no more than the successive heraldings of, or approxi- 



mate outlines of, one and the same fundamental reality . . 

Crimson gleams of Matter, gliding imperceptibly into the 
gold of Spirit, ultimately to become transformed into the 
incandescence of a Universe that is Person - and through all this 
there blows, animating it and spreading over it a fragrant balm, 
a zephyr of Union - and of the Feminine. 

The Diaphany of the Divine at the heart of a glowing Universe, 
as I have experienced it through contact with the Earth - the 
Divine radiating from the depths of a blazing Matter: this it is 
that I shall try to disclose and communicate in what follows. 

Les Moulins, 15 August 1950 


Preliminary Note: The Sense of Plenitude 

When I look for my starting point, for a clue to lead the reader 
through these pages, for an axis that will give continuity to the 
whole, I find that the first thing I have to do is to give a picture of, 
and briefly describe, a particular psychological disposition or 
'polarization' ; it is certainly common to all men (although not 
always formally recognized by them), and for want of a better 
name I shall call it the Sense of Plenitude. However far back I go 
into my childhood, nothing seems to me more characteristic of, 
or more familiar in, my interior economy than the appetite or 
irresistible demand for some 'Unique all-sufficing and necessary 
reality'. To be completely at home and completely happy, there 
must be the knowledge that 'Something, essential by nature* 
exists, to which everything else is no more than an accessory or 
perhaps an ornament. To know and endlessly to enjoy the aware- 
ness of this existence - 1 must indeed confess that if ever in past 
years I have been able to recognize my own self and follow my 
own development, it has been only by picking up this note or 



tint, or particular flavour, which it is impossible (once one has 
experienced it) to confuse with any other spiritual emotion, 
whether joy in knowledge or discovery, joy in creation or in 
loving: and this not so much because it is different from all those 
emotions, but because it belongs to a higher order and contains 
them all. 

The Sense of Plenitude, the Sense of Consummation and of 
Completion: the 'Pleromic Sense*. 

Throughout all that I shall call in turn and indifferently 'Sense 
of Consistence', 'Cosmic Sense 9 , 'Sense of the Earth 9 , 'Sense of 
Man 9 , 'Christie Sense 9 , everything that follows will be simply the 
story of a slow unfolding or evolving within me of this funda- 
mental and 'Protean 9 element which takes on ever richer and 
purer forms. 

This is no fictitious or imaginary story; it is a real process at 
work, biologically guided and guaranteed for me as such by the 
identity my consciousness can clearly apprehend beneath all the 
metamorphoses and extensions of the operative psychological 

And, let me add, it is a singularly significant operation in as 
much as, while destined to culminate upon what is highest in the 
direction of Spirit, it started in the first place (as I know by 
evidence and direct proofs) from what is most tangible and most 
concrete in the Stuff of Things, later to make its way into and 
conquer everything. 2 

a. The Appeal of Matter 9 

I was certainly not more than six or seven years old when I began 
to feel myself drawn by Matter - or, more correcdy, by some- 
thing which 'shone 9 at the heart of Matter. At the age when other 
children, I imagine, experience their first 'feeling 9 for a person, or 
for art, or for religion, I was affectionate, good, and even pious: 
by that I mean that under the influence of my mother, I was 
devoted to the Child Jesus. I shall return later, in Part HI, to the 



essential part that this element played later in my life. 

In reality, however, my real 'me* was elsewhere. 

And to see that 'me* properly, you would have had to watch me 
as - always in secrecy and silence - without even any idea that 
there could be anything to say about it to anyone - 1 withdrew 
into the contemplation, the possession, into the so relished 
existence, of my 'Iron God 9 . Iron, mark you. I can still see, with 
remarkable sharpness, the succession of my 'idols'. In the country 
there was the lock-pin of a plough which I used to hide carefully 
in a coiner of the yard. In town, there was the hexagonal head of 
a metal bolt which protruded above the level of the nursery floor, 
and which I had made my own private possession. Later, there 
were shell-splinters lovingly collected on a neighbouring firing- 
range ... I cannot help smiling, today, when these childish fancies 
come back to my mind; and yet I cannot but recognize that this 
instinctive act which made me worship, in a real sense of the word, 
a fragment of metal contained and concentrated an intensity of 
resonance and a whole stream of demands of which my entire 
spiritual life has been no more than the development. 

The real point, however, is: Why Iron? and why, in particular, 
one special piece of iron? (It had to be as thick and massive as 
possible.) It can only have been because, so far as my childish 
experience went, nothing in the world was harder, heavier, 
tougher, more durable than this marvellous substance appre- 
hended in itsjullest possible form . . . Consistence: that has un- 
doubtedly been for me the fundamental attribute of Being. When 
this initial apprehension of the Absolute in the form of the 
Tangible is arrested prematurely in its growth, so that it becomes 
barren, you get dwarfism, and it is this that produces the miser or 
collector. Providentially, in my case the seed was destined to 
grow. But until this very day (and so, I feel, it will be until the 
end) this primacy of the Incorruptible, that is to say of the 
Irreversible, has never ceased, and never will cease, indelibly to 
characterize my predilection for the Necessary, the General, the 
'Natural' - as opposed to the Contingent, the Particular and the 



Artificial: and, as we shall be seeing, this disposition for a long 
time obscured for me the supreme values of the Personal and the 

Already this was the Sense of Plenitude, sharply individualized 
and already seeking for satisfaction in grasping a definite Object 
in which die Essence of Things could be found concentrated. 

It was precisely what, after many years of experience and 
thought, I was to begin to discern in an evolutive Pole to the 

It is a long way, however, from a piece of iron to Omega 
Point . . . And I was gradually to find, to my cost, to what a 
degree the Consistence of which I then dreamed is an effect not of 
'substance' but of 'convergence*. I so well remember the pathetic 
despair of the child who one day realizes that Iron can become 
scratched and pitted - and can rust. 'Quo tinea non corrumpit'. 

And then, to comfort myself, I looked for things that would 
take its place. Sometimes it would be a blue flame (at once so 
material, so impossible to grasp and so pure) flickering over the 
logs on the hearth; more often some more transparent or more 
finely coloured stone: quartz or amethyst crystals and, best of all, 
glittering fragments of chalcedony such as I could pick up in the 
countryside. On those occasions it was essential, of course, that the 
cherished substance should be resistant, impervious to attack and 

There was an imperceptible transition, but one which was 
later to have an immense importance for my spiritual evolution: 
for it was precisely through the gateway that the substitution of 
Quartz for Iron opened for my groping mind into the vast 
structures of the Planet and of Nature, that I began, without 
realizing it, truly to make my way into the World - until nothing 
could satisfy me that was not on the scale of the Universal. 

This is how it happened. 



b. The Appearance of the Universal 

At the very beginning of my conscious life, let me repeat, in my 
efforts to attain and grasp the 'solidity' to which my innate 
demand for Plenitude impelled me, I tried above all to capture the 
essence of Matter by looking for it in its most closely-defined 
and concentrated, and heaviest, forms; in this attempt I clung, of 
course, to what then seemed to me to be the queen of substances 
(in that case, Iron) - but in so doing I was greatly concerned to 
grasp this precious being in forms as sharply demarcated and 
compact as possible. 

Then it was that my newly born attraction to the world of 
'Rocks' began to produce the beginning of what was to be a per- 
manent broadening of the foundations of my interior life. 

Metal (such metal as I could find at the age of ten) tended to 
keep me attached to objects that were manufactured and so mere 
pieces. Mineral, on the other hand, set me on the road towards the 
'planetary'. I woke up to the notion of 'the Stuff of Things'. And 
that famous Consistence, which I had hitherto looked for in the 
Hard and the Dense, began in a subtle way to emerge in the 
direction of an Elemental permeating all things - whose very 
ubiquity would produce incorruptibility. 

Later, when I was studying geology, it might well have 
appeared that all I was doing was seriously and successfully to 
consider the chances of a career in science. In reality, however, 
during the whole of my life there was but one thing which would 
irresistibly bring me back (even at the expense of palaeontology) 
to the study of the great eruptive masses and continental shelves: 
that was an insatiable desire to maintain contact (a contact of 
communion) with a sort of universal root or matrix of beings. 

The truth is that even at the peak of my spiritual trajectory I 
was never to feel at home unless immersed in an Ocean of 
Matter . . . 

So it was that the Sense of Consistence led to the awakening and 
expansion of a dominant and triumphant Sense of the Whole. 



Over about twenty years of my life (from my leaving home 
for boarding-school until I began my theology at Hastings in 
Sussex) I can distinctly recognize in my memories the unbroken 
trail that marks this profound transformation. During this time, 
as I shall have to explain, the material object of my secret joy 
may well have varied with my age; moreover, there was an 
important break in my life: my entry into the Society of Jesus. 
But I now see that these different events were no more than minor 
superficial ripples on the fundamental current constituted by my 
awakening to the Cosmic Sense and the Cosmic life. This was a 
powerful interior process, in the course of which I found that I 
was gradually being invaded, impregnated and completely re- 
cast as the result of a sort of psychic metamorphosis into which, 
it would seem, there passed the brightest of the energies released 
by my arrival at puberty. 

It would be difficult for me to work out again, or at least to 
explain in some detail, the complicated story in which, at that 
time of my life, the various threads were formed and began to be 
woven together into what was one day to become for me the 
fabric of the Stuff of the Universe. 

Nevertheless, at this point in my analysis I must enumerate 
the more important strata whose successive individualization or 
accretion helped at that time to provide my Sense of the Whole 
with its chief components. 

First of all, of course, and forming the solid permanent core of 
the system, was my taste for geology: the primacy of material 
matter, 'Matter-Matter', expressed in Mineral and Rock. I shall 
not re-analyse here, what I have mentioned earlier, this primordial 
modality of my Sense of Plenitude; but I could not explain, or 
follow myself, the vicissitudes of my psychic evolution if I did 
not emphasize once again the central position invariably occupied 
by my passionate study of the science 'of Stones*, throughout the 
whole of my spiritual embryo-genesis. 

Thus, between the ages often and thirty, at the heart of my 
absorbing interests and of my secret delights lay a continued and 



increased contact with the Cosmic 'in the solid state 9 . Already, 
however, in a semi-subordinate way, there was the newly 
emerged attraction towards vegetal and animal Nature; and, 
deep below, there came one day, at the end of that period, my 
initiation into the less tangible - but how stimulating ! - magni- 
tudes disclosed by the investigations of Physics. On either side of 
Matter stood Life and Energy: the three columns that supported 
my interior visions and felicity. 

Because of its apparent fragility (a point I shall have to return to 
when I speak of Man) the living World greatly worried and 
disconcerted me as a child. On the one hand, when I thought of 
Plants and Animals, to the knowledge of which I was being 
initiated by my country life and my father's taste for natural 
history, I felt quite certainly drawn towards them by my con- 
stantly watchful "Sense of Plenitude 9 . On the other hand, I had to 
justify to myself the interest aroused in me by objects so shockingly 
lacking in consistence and so perishable as a flower or an insect 4 ; 
and so I created for myself (or did I discover in myself?) certain 
mysterious equivalent values whose psychological connection is 
not perhaps immediately obvious but which gave me just the 
same feeling of intense satisfaction. For the Solid and In- 
corruptible, I substituted the New and the Rare. So far was this 
carried that for years, as I now smile to remember, the pursuit in 
zoology and palaeontology of "the new species 9 became one of 
die most important pivots around which my interior life revolved. 
It was a dangerous tendency, I must confess, for there could have 
been a risk of being dragged into the morass of collections and 
collecting for their own sake - had it not been for two safe- 
guards: in the first place I retained my dominant Sense of die 
Universal, and even as I felt the glow of satisfaction as I put my 
hand upon a really treasured specimen, that sense enabled me 
to experience fundamentally only a delight in a more intimate 
contact (or a contact I imagined to be such) with what would 
later become for me "the Biosphere'. Secondly, there was the 
decisive effect made upon my mind, at the right moment, by 




my introduction to physics and physicists. 

It was only for three years, in Jersey - and then for another 
three years, in Cairo (1906-8) - that I studied (so .far as I could) 
and taught (so far as my incompetence allowed me) a pretty 
elementary physics: the pre-quanta, pre-Relativity, pre-atomic- 
structure physics. This means that in this field I am, so far as 
technical knowledge goes, no more than an amateur - a layman. 
And yet I find it difficult to express how much I feel at home in 
precisely this world of electrons, nuclei, waves, and what a sense 
of plenitude and comfort it gives me. The Consistent, the Total, 
the Unique, the Essential of my childhood dreams - the vast 
cosmic realities (Mass, Permeability, Radiation, Curvatures, and 
so on) through which the Stuff of Things is disclosed to our 
experience in a form which is patient at the same time of being 
indefinitely reduced to elements and indefinitely expressed in 
geometrical terms - that mysterious Gravity (whose secret I 
ingenuously promised myself, at the age of twenty-two, that I 
would one day dedicate myself to unlocking) : it was surely there 
that I met those very 'archetypes' which, as we shall be seeing, 
I still use, even when I come to the Christie itself, when I try to 
express for my own satisfaction precisely what I mean. 

Linking the Animal World and the Energy-World lies the 
common underlying foundation of the Rock-World. From 
above this firmly cemented whole there flooded over me a first 
wave of the exotic, which sometimes affected me like a rich 
tapestry and sometimes seemed to bring me an invigorating 
draught of a new atmosphere. This was the East. I caught glimpses 
of it, and drank it in avidly, with no concern for its peoples and 
their history (which had not yet begun to interest me) but under 
the attraction of its light, its vegetation, its fauna and its deserts. 
Such, when I was about twenty-eight years of age, was the some- 
what muddled spiritual complex within which my passionate 
love of the Universe was smouldering without as yet die power to 
burst into open flame. 

The truth is that, without realizing it, I had at that time come to 



a standstill in my awakening to Cosmic Life, and I could not 
start again without the intervention of a new force or a new 
illumination. A dead end: or perhaps I should say a subtly hidden 
tendency to drift towards a lower form (the commonplace, facile 
form) of the pantheist Spirit, the pantheism of effusion and 
dissolution. For, if the initial call that I had heard was in fact 
coming from Matter, then (someone kept whispering within me) 
why should I not look for the essence of Matter, for its 'heart*, 
precisely in that direction in which all things are 'ultra-material- 
ized': that is to say, look for it just where I had found the 
incredibly simple and inclusive realities to the discovery of which 
I had ultimately been led by the Physics of Energy and the Ether 
(for we still retained that term in those days) ? In other words, if 
I was to escape from the ruthless fragility of the Multiple, why 
should I not take my stance at an even deeper level and burrow, so 
to speak, below it? 

It was thus that there tended insidiously to become rooted in 
me the concern and preference (completely eastern, beneath their 
scientific garb) for a common substratum of the Tangible - Element 
of all elements - Support of all substances - which, by a process 
of relaxation and diffusion, might be directly grasped, beyond 
every determination and every form. 

This meant possession of the World by self-surrender, by 
passivity, by disappearing within a Formless that knows no 
boundaries - a movement that could be seen as 'centrifugal 
communion 9 , inspired by the instinct for self-extension and self- 
distension, operating below all particulate plurality and delimita- 
tion, on the scale of, and homogeneous with, the total Sphere . . . 

If I was to be All, I must be fused with all. 

Such was the mystical act to which, following so many Hindu 
poets and mystics, I would logically have been driven by an 
innate, ungovernable need to attain self-fulfilment by accession 
not, indeed, to others, but to become the Other - had it not been 
that just at the appropriate moment the idea of Evolution ger- 
minated in me, like a seed: whence it came I cannot say. 



c. The Discovery of Evolution 

It was during the years when I was studying theology at Hastings 
(that is to say, immediately after I had experienced such sense of 
wonder in Egypt) that there gradually grew in me, as a presence 
much more than as an abstract notion, the consciousness of a 
deep-running, ontological, total Current which embraced the 
whole Universe in which I moved; and this consciousness con- 
tinued to grow until it filled the whole horizon of my inner being. 

What were the influences or what was the sudden jerk that 
caused this feeling to appear and drive its roots so deeply into me; 
how did the process develop and what were its stages ? Those are 
questions that I would find very difficult to answer. I can remem- 
ber very clearly the avidity with which, at that time, I read 
Bergson's Creative Evolution. But apart from my failure in those 
days correctly to understand what he meant by Duration, 5 I can 
now see quite clearly that the only effect that brilliant book had 
upon me was to provide fuel at just the right moment, and very 
briefly, for a fire that was already consuming my heart and mind. 
And that fire had been kindled, I imagine, simply by the co- 
incidence in me, under 'monist' high tension, of the three in- 
flammable elements that had slowly piled up in the depths of my 
soul over a period of thirty years. These were the cult of Matter, 
the cult of Life, and the cult of Energy. All three found a potential 
outlet and synthesis in a World which had suddenly acquired a 
new dimension and had thereby moved from the fragmented state 
of static Cosmos to the organic state and dignity of a Cosmo- 

At first, naturally enough, I was far from understanding and 
clearly appreciating the importance of the change I was under- 
going. All that I can remember of those days (apart from that 
magic word 'evolution 9 , which haunted my thoughts like a tune: 
which was to me like an unsatisfied hunger, like a promise held 
out to me, like a summons to be answered) -all that I can remem- 
ber is the extraordinary solidity and intensity I found then in the 


English countryside, particularly at sunset, when the Sussex 
woods were charged with all that 'fossil' Life which I was then 
hunting for, from cliff to quarry, in the Wealden clay. There 
were moments, indeed, when it seemed to me that a sort of 
universal being was about to take shape suddenly in Nature 
before my very eyes. Already, however, I was no longer trying, 
as I had tried earlier, to apprehend and pin down the Ineffable 
Ambience by looking towards some 'ultra-material'. I was already 
turning my eyes towards some 'ultra-living'. I had experienced a 
complete reversal of my Sense of Plenitude, and since those days I 
have constantly searched and progressed in that new direction. 

Let me draw attention a little more closely to this discovery 
and to the way in which I retraced my steps. 

Until that time my education and my religion had always led 
me obediently to accept - without much reflection, it is true - a 
fundamental heterogeneity between Matter and Spirit, between 
Body and Soul, between Unconscious and Conscious. These 
were to me two 'substances' that differed in nature, two 'species' 
of Being that were, in some incomprehensible way, associated in 
the living Compound; and it was important, I was told, to 
maintain at all costs that the first of those two (my divine Matter !) 
was no more than the humble servant of the second, if not, 
indeed, its enemy. Thus the second of the two (Spirit) was by 
that very fact henceforth reduced for me to being no more than 
a Shadow. In principle, it is true, I was compelled to venerate this 
shadow but, emotionally and intellectually speaking, I did not in 
fact have any live interest in it. You can well imagine, accordingly, 
how strong was my inner feeling of release and expansion when I 
took my first still hesitant steps into an 'evolutive' Universe, and 
saw that the dualism in wKich I had hitherto been enclosed was 
disappearing like the mist before the rising sun. Matter and Spirit: 
these were no longer two things, but two states or two aspects of 
one and the same cosmic Stuff, according to whether it was 
looked at or carried further in the direction in which (as Bergson 
would have put it) it is becoming itself or in the direction in which 



it is disintegrating. 

Those phrases, 'to become itself* or 'to disintegrate', were still, 
of course, terribly vague, and it would be several decades before 
they acquired a precise meaning in my mind; but in their own 
way they sufficed to confirm me permanently in an attitude or 
choice which was to govern the whole of my interior develop- 
ment and whose chief characteristics may be defined in these 
simple words: the primacy of Spirit or, which comes to the 
same thing, the primacy of the Future. 

Strictly speaking, no doubt, the mere fact of having seen the 
disappearance of the alleged barrier that separates the Within of 
things from the Without - or even of having realized that once 
we have knocked down that wall we find that an experientially 
and tangibly recognizable current runs from what is least 
conscious in Nature to what is most conscious - that mere fact, I 
must admit, would not by itself suffice to establish beyond 
question an absolute superiority of the Animate over the Inani- 
mate - of Psyche over Soma. Is there any reason, in fact, why 
the Cosmos should not swing at will first to one pole and then 
to the other? Or, after a certain number of oscillations, why 
should it not finally and unalterably settle down in the Matter 
position? . . . Surely these could be two of any number of 
evolutionary formulas ? 

These various problems were inevitably to present themselves 
to me later on, and I can see that I solved them at least for my own 
personal needs. What I find remarkable is that they did not occur 
to me at the very beginning. It may have been the impact of 
the clarity of my own instinct (for it seemed so obvious that I 
could not be mistaken in attributing to the cosmic movement 
that I had just discovered the highest degree of creative value and 
permanence); or it may have been an Hi-defined anticipation of 
Evolution's psychic conditions or demands (which I was to learn 
later from the study of Human Energy) : in any case, I never really 
paused for a moment to question the idea that the progressive 
Spiritualization of Matter - so clearly demonstrated to me by 



Palaeontology - could be anything other, or anything less, than 
an irreversible process. By its gravitational nature, the Universe, I 
saw, was falling - falling forwards - in the direction of Spirit as 
upon its stable form. In other words, Matter was not ultra* 
materialized as I would at first have believed, but was instead 
metamorphosed into Psyche. Looked at not metaphysically, but 
genetically, Spirit was by no means the enemy or the opposite 
pole of the Tangibility which I was seeking to attain: rather was 
it its very heart. 

It was to take me a whole lifetime to appreciate (and even 
then, alas, by no means completely) the unendingly constructive 
and at the same time revolutionary effect this transposition of 
value (this change in the very notion of Spirit) produced upon my 
understanding, upon my prayer and action. 

Meanwhile, my interior position was as follows. By the direct 
leap I had taken from the old static dualism, which I found para- 
lysing, to emerge into a Universe which was in a state not merely 
of evolution but of directed evolution (that is, of Genesis) I was 
obliged to make a complete about-turn in my fundamental pur- 
suit of Consistence. Until that time, as I said earlier, my guiding 
Sense of Plenitude tended to point and settle down in the direction 
of the 'extremely simple 9 (in other words, of what cannot be 
broken down into physical components). In future, since die 
unique and precious essence of the Universe had assumed for me 
the form of an "Evolutive 9 in which Matter was transformed into 
Thought as an extended consequence of Noogenesis, I found 
myself inevitably, and paradoxically, obliged to identify the 
extreme Solidity of things with an extreme organic complexity. Yet 
how could what was most corruptible become, as a result of 
synthesis, the supremely Indestructible? Because I had not yet 
perceived 'the biological laws of Union 9 and recognized the 
amazing attributes of a universal Curvature, I was still uncertain of 
the solution to that problem; but I no longer doubted but that 
the supreme happiness I had formerly looked for in 'Iron' was to 
be found only in Spirit. 



Already, in fact, reassurance was at hand: two immense living 
Unities were beginning to rise over my inner horizon - unities of 
planetary dimensions in which I could distinguish, precisely as an 
effect of an excess of combination and organicity, die emergence 
within the Stuff of the cosmos of an extraordinary capacity for 
consolidation by complexification'. 

In one of these my many varied experiences as a biologist in the 
field and in the laboratory were gradually coming together to 
form a naturally harmonious pattern. This was the Earth's living 
envelope - the Biosphere. 

And the other was totalized Mankind - the Noosphere. But 
the price I would have to pay for this, if I was to bring it finally 
and sharply into focus, was no less than the spiritual shock of the 


Today Man (or, to speak more correctly, the Human) 9 forms the 
pivot upon which the whole structure of my interior Universe 
rests, around which its links are formed and it coheres and moves. 
Yet the Human was far from occupying this cardinal position in 
my picture of the world immediately and without resistance. 

As a result of the awakening in me of the notion of Evolution, 
Spirit (as I have just related) had, in my view, supplanted the 
Mineral and the Atomic in their dignity as the immutable and 
all-embracing essence of the Universe. But this Spirit, vaguely 
conceived as some sort of opposite pole to the physicist's Energy, 
was still, in my mind (and was so to remain for a long time) 7 
without any precise structure: two innate and obstinate pre- 
judices prevented me from facing and coming to terms with the 
fact (obvious though it was) that if the World does indeed 
represent an organo-dynamic system which is in process of 
psychic interiorization, then it is through the Flesh, by process of 
Hominization, that Noogenesis operates. 

On the one hand there was the reaction I mentioned earlier 



when I was speaking of my first relationship with Nature: the 
physico-chemical instability of organic substances in general, and 
of the human body in particular, 8 continued, in spite of all the 
intellectual evidence to the contrary, to obscure emotionally my 
need for consistence. 

On the other hand there was a new obstacle: the more the 
primacy of the Cosmic asserted itself in my mind, and die more 
I felt its appeal, the more, by contrast, did the Human confuse 
and disturb me by the preponderance assumed at its level by 'the 
individual', 'the accidental 9 , "the artificial 9 . . . In Man, did not the 
Plural inevitably, and disastrously, break through and tear apart 
the Universal and the Total? ... It was not merely that the trees 
prevented me from seeing the wood - the wood hardly even 
seemed to subsist behind them. 

Putting it in rather cut and dried terms, I can, I think, reduce 
to three the stages I had to go through in turn, between the ages of 
thirty and fifty years, before I could overcome these two forms of 
inner reluctance and so at last become fully conscious of the 
extraordinary cosmic wealth concentrated in the Phenomenon of 

The first stage introduced me to the notion of human 
Planetarity (the existence of a Noosphere and the disposition of its 

The second disclosed to me more explicitly the critical trans- 
formation undergone by the Stuff of the cosmos at the level of 

And the third led me to the recognition of the Noosphere's 
accelerated drift towards ultra-human states, under the influence 
of psycho-physical convergence (or Planetization). 

a. The Reality of the Noosphere 

It was only, if I am not mistaken, in an article on Man, written 
about 1927 9 (that is, after my first visit to China), that I first 
allowed myself- on the model of Suess's Biosphere - to use the 



term Noosphere for the Earth's thinking envelope. But although 
the word appeared in my writings at that comparatively late date, 
it was ten years earlier that the vision itself had germinated in my 
mind through prolonged contact with the huge masses of man- 
kind that were then facing one another in the trenches of France, 
from the Yser to Verdun. 

The atmosphere of 'the Front': it was, I am quite sure, from 
having plunged into that atmosphere - from having been soaked 
in it for months and months on end - and precisely where it was 
at its most dense and heavily charged, that I ceased to notice any 
break (if not any difference) between 'physical' and 'moral', 
between 'natural' and 'artificial'. The 'Human-million', with its 
psychic temperature and its internal energy, became for me a 
magnitude as evolutively, and therefore as biologically, real as a 
giant molecule of protein. 1 was later to be astonished on many 
occasions to find in my own circle that those who could not agree 
with me suffered from a complete inability to understand that 
precisely because the individual human being represents a 
corpuscular magnitude he must be subject to the same development 
as every other species of corpuscles in the World: that means that 
he must coalesce into physical relationships and groupings that 
belong to a higher order than his. It is, of course, quite impossible 
for him to apprehend these groupings directly as such (because 
they are of the order of n+i), 10 but there are many indications 
that enable him to recognize perfectly well their existence and 
the influences they exercise. This gift or faculty of perceiving, 
without actually seeing, the reality and organicity of collective 
magnitudes is still comparatively rare: 11 but I have no doubt at 
all (as I said earlier) that it was the experience of the War that 
brought me this awareness and developed it in me as a sixth 
sense? 2 

Once I had acquired this complementary sense, what emerged 
into my field of perception was literally a new Universe. By the 
side of (or above) the Universe of large Masses, I saw (what I 
shall speak of later) the Universe of large Complexes. Looking 



at the Earth, my first instinct would originally have been to give 
particular consideration to what was most central and heaviest 
(the Barysphere, we might say). As things were, my attention and 
my interest (still guided by the same fundamental need for 
Solidity and Incorruptibility) were gradually and almost im- 
perceptibly climbing up from the extremely simple central 
core of the Planet to its ridiculously thin, but dauntingly active 
and complex, peripheral layers. It was not merely that I found 
no difficulty in apprehending, more or less intuitively, the 
organic unity of the living membrane which is stretched like a 
film over the lustrous surface of the star which holds us. There 
was something more: around this sentient protoplasmic layer, 
an ultimate envelope was beginning to become apparent to me, 
taking on its own individuality and gradually detaching itself like a 
luminous aura. This envelope was not only conscious but thinking, 
and from the time when I first became aware of it, it was always 
there that I found concentrated, in an ever more dazzling and 
consistent form, the essence or rather the very Soul of the Earth. 

b. The Stuff of the Noosphere 

During a first phase of my apprehension, the feature in the No- 
osphere which most attracted my attention was what I would 
call, if I may, "its surface tension 9 . This is a most exceptional - 
indeed, a unique - example in the field of our observation of a 
living magnitude, planetary in dimensions, which is strictly and 
exclusively self-totalizing. At the bottom we see (as we do in 
every Sphere') ubiquity and solidarity; but above there is some- 
thing more, there is organic unity of operation. 

The oneness, or Unicity, of man stretched like a veil over the 
confused multitude of living beings: this astounding singleness 
in cohesion was in itself sufficient to catch and fascinate my 
passion for the Cosmic-apprehended-in-its-extreme-forms. 
Nevertheless it was only a first approximation in the story of my 
discovery of the Human - or (which may seem a better way of 



expressing it) it was a first break-through which illuminated in 
three stages the very nature of the Stuff of the Noosphere con- 
sidered from the point of view of its underlying structure. 

Deep down, there is in the substance of the cosmos a primordial 
disposition, sui generis, for self-arrangement and self-involution. 

As we proceed, we find that a certain degree of vitalized Matter's 
physico-chemical arrangement brings a critical point 'of Reflec- 
tion', which releases the whole train of the specific properties of 
the Human. 

Finally, as a result of Reflection, we find a demand for, and a 
germinating principle of, complete and final incorruptibility, 
which permeates the very marrow of the Noosphere. 

I mentioned earlier the curiously seductive power that the 
phenomena of gravity exerted on my mind while I was still 
very young. Was it by mere chance that the place of this 
mysterious energy, whose study was technically beyond my 
powers, was taken by another entity, as wide in its embrace and 
as powerful in its attraction, which gradually became apparent 
to me in a field that was both easier for me to work in and closer 
to the very axis of Cosmogenesis? This was no longer universal 
'attraction' gradually drawing around itself the cosmic Mass - 
but that as yet undiscovered and unnamed power which forces 
Matter (as it concentrates under pressure) to arrange itself in ever 
larger molecules, differentiated and organic in structure. Beyond 
and above the concentration-curve I began to distinguish the arrange- 
ment-curve . . . not the gende drift towards equilibrium and rest, 
but the irresistible 'Vortex' which spins into itself, always in the 
same direction, 18 the whole Stuff of things, from the most simple 
to the most complex: spinning it into ever more comprehensive 
and more astronomically complicated nuclei. And the result of 
this structural torsion is an increase (under the influence of 
interiorization) of consciousness, or a rise in psychic temperature, 
in the core of the corpuscles that are successively produced. 14 

The fantastic whirl of electrons, nuclei, atoms, extends into, 
ramifies and intensifies, unseen, in the deepest recesses of cells and 



cellular structure. 

In that fundamental maelstrom I have for thirty years always 
seen but one thing: the deceptive superficial tranquillity of 
vitalized Matter simplifying, developing its essence, becoming 

Vitalized Matter: the fragile thing, whose apparent insignifi- 
cance had always until that time disturbed and disappointed my 
yearning to worship. 

Vitalized Matter: the delicate foam that floats precariously on 
the surface of the planetary crucible . . . 

. . . And then suddenly I saw in you the very consistency of the 
World; it was welling up in you like sap, through every fibre, 
it was leaping up like a flame. 

And as that happened, everything was bathed in light; my 
eyes had acquired a new sensitivity and I saw in things an ordered 
pattern which fitted the dual scale of values and of Time. 

For in the first place, if Life is no longer what it might have 
appeared to be before this change, an anomaly, an accident, an 
exception - if, instead, it is simply the manifestation, reaching its 
peak in one particular spot, of a fundamental tide inherent in 
Matter - then, the minuteness of the quantity of organic substance 
at present scattered throughout space ceases in any way to detract 
from its quality. The rarity, in fact, of living beings is of no import- 
ance, if that rarity is only the effect and the visible expression of 
the difficulties which the play of chance presents to the emergence 
of a complexification-force which is under pressure everywhere in 
the Universe. 

But there is a further point: as soon as I had recognized and 
accepted the great bio-physical principle of "maximum arrange- 
ment* in Matter - which does not contradict, but rather com- 
plements or even dominates the mechanical principle of 'least 
effort' - as soon as I had done that, I could see quite clearly that 
once life has established a foothold somewhere in the World we 
might expect to see it not only expand but (as a result of ultra- 
complexification) reach the highest degree of intensity upon our 



vitalized planet. It was this that explained the persistent and 
irreversible rise of Cerebration and Consciousness over the surface 
of the Earth that runs through the geological eras. It was this, 
again, that showed me the foil significance of the hominizing 
phenomenon of Reflection: Reflection, the 'cosmic' critical point 
which at a given moment is inevitably met and traversed by all 
Matter as soon as it exceeds a certain degree of psychic tempera- 
ture and organization. Reflection: the transition (which is like a 
second birth) from simple Life to 'Life squared'. Reflection: the 
necessary and sufficient property that explains the marked dis- 
continuity - the 'take-off' we might almost say - that we can 
observe experientially between Biosphere and Noosphere. 

Matter is the matrix of Spirit. Spirit is the higher state of 

These two propositions became the real axis of my inner vision 
and progress, and in them the word spirit was henceforth to bear 
a precise and concrete meaning. Spirit had become the clearly 
defined term of a defined operation. 

Nowadays I might well come up against Freud's Unconscious 
or any one of the philosophical, artistic or literary theories of 
intuition that have become so fashionable since the First World 
War. At that time my position was firmly and permanently 
established: I had seen, once and for all, that when the World is 
left to itself it does not fall in the direction of obscurity; with all 
its vastness and all its weight it falls forward in equilibrium, 
towards the light. And in future nothing can make me swerve 
from this irrevocable conviction that it is in the form, I do not 
say of Concepts, but of Thought that the Stuff of things gradually 
concentrates in the pure state, in a cosmic peak: and this it does 
in its most stable form, which means in the form that has become 
the most completely irreversible. 

However, if this is to be correctly understood, it calls for some 
elaboration; and for this I must now turn not to some bygone 
period of my life but rather to the most advanced stage of my 
inner exploration in search of the Heart of things. 



c. The Evolution of the Noosphere 

There is, fortunately, an ever increasing number of persons who 
can overcome certain ingrained intellectual habits and certain 
anatomical illusions and are beginning to distinguish a Noosphere 
which is like a halo around the Biosphere; but even among these, 
agreement is far from being reached as yet on the question of 
determining whether this "corona 9 of reflective peri-terrestrial 
substance has, or has not, finished its planetary evolution. 

Now, it is precisely on this crucial question of a standstill in 
anthropogenesis that, in the course of these last years, I have come 
to take up a decisive attitude: driven to it by the full force of the 
evidence I find within myself. 

It is already a long time (c£, for example, How I Believe) since 
I noted how clearly Mankind (as we can see from the vestiges of 
its non-organization) discloses the possibility, and so the immin- 
ence of, some state of higher unification. A priori fcudging, that is, 
from its potentiality for ultra-arrangement) we could say that 
hominization is still going on. 

Very well: since 1939, it is the reality of this organo-psychic 
current that has constantly been apparent to me, in the light of 
the facts, with growing clarity. And this has had the result of 
giving a definitive form to, and a definitive goal for, my innate 
yearning for Plenitude and Consistence. 

If we were to believe those who preach a certain sort of 
common sense', we would say that the process of cosmic 
involution from which the human zoological type emerged 
towards the end of the Tertiary came to a complete standstill 
some thousands of years ago. Could Mankind, they are continually 
asking us, produce anything superior to Beethoven or Plato ? On 
the contrary, is my answer : how can we fail to see that the process 
of convergence from which we emerged, body and soul, is 
continuing to envelop us more closely than ever, to grip us, in the 
form of- under the folds o£ we might say - a gigantic planetary 



The irresistible "setting* or cementing together of a thinking 
mass (Mankind) which is continually more compressed upon 
itself by the simultaneous multiplication and expansion of its 
individual elements: there is not one of us, surely, who is not 
almost agonizingly aware of this, in the very fibre of his being. 
This is one of the things that no one today would even try to deny : 
we can all see the fantastic anatomical structure of a vast phylum 
whose brandies, instead of diverging as they normally do, are 
ceaselessly folding in upon one another ever more closely, like 
some monstrous inflorescence - like, indeed, an enormous flower 
folding-in upon itself; the literally global physiology of an 
organism in which production, nutrition, the machine, research, 
and the legacy of heredity are, beyond any doubt, building up to 
planetary dimensions; the increasing impossibility of die 
individual's attaining economic and intellectual self-sufficiency - 
although we recognize all this, why is it that we are still, for the 
most part, obstinately blind to the cosmogenic (or, more cor- 
rectly, 'noogenic') significance of the phenomenon? Why, in 
other words, do we not recognize in die accelerating totalization 
against which we are struggling, sometimes so desperately, simply 
the normal continuation at a level above ourselves of that process 
which generates Thought on Earth ? Why do we not see that it is a 
continuing process of Cerebration ? 

Technology and Socialization combined have forced us to 
recognize that man's vision is being enlarged in certain fields 
(particularly in that of pure Science); but we are still refusing to 
accept the possibility of continuing improvement, passed on 
from one generation to another, in the actual organ of this vision. 
It was from this obstinate prejudice, from this persistent illusion, 
that I one day found I had completely shaken myself free. That, 
thirty or forty thousand years ago, the individual power to feel 
and think reached its peak - at least for the time being - that is a 
possibility. But that Hominization in its essence (that is, the con- 
centration upon itself of global terrestrial Psychism) should now 
have come to a final halt: to my mind, that is formally contra- 



dieted by die fantastic spectacle, staring us in die face, of a rapidly 
rising collective Reflection, moving in step with an increasingly 
unitary organization. 

We have only to look around us to see how complexity (under 
compression) and psychic 'Temperature 9 are still rising: and rising 
no longer on the scale of the individual but now on that of the 
planet. This indication is so familiar to us that we cannot but 
recognize the objective, experiential, reality of a directionally 
controlled transformation of the Noosphere as a whole*.* 

Zoologically and psychologically speaking, Man can at last be seen 
in the cosmic integrity of his trajectory, on which, however, he is still at 
only an embryonic stage - if we look ahead we can already see the 
outlines of a wide fringe of ultra-human. 

Writing in the year 1950, 1 can say that the evolution of my 
inner vision culminates in the acceptance of this evident fact, 
that there is a 'creative' tide which (as a strict statistic consequence 
of their increasing powers of self-determination) is carrying the 
human 'mega-molecules' towards an almost unbelievable quasi 
'mono-molecular' state; and in that state, as the biological laws of 
Union 16 demand, each ego is destined to be forced convulsively 
beyond itself into some mysterious super-ego. 

For a long time now (in fact, ever since the moment when I saw 
the balance of the World reversed from what lies behind to what 
lies ahead) I have always had a feeling that at the head of Cosmo- 
genesis there stands a Pole, not simply of attraction, but of 
consolidation - and that means a Pole which imparts the quality of 

And so finally this mysterious focal point - which is made 
possible or even demanded by a maturing of man that cannot bio- 
dynamically reach its final critical point of Ultra-Reflection 
unless it is fostered and carried along by a growing hope of 
immortality - this mysterious focal point of Noogenesis became 
experientially real for me. In one single and irresistible movement, 
as the result of convergence, the Incorruptible of which I had 

* Teilhard uses the English words, 'as a whole*. 



always dreamed was simultaneously becoming universalized and 

The "piece of iron 9 of my first days has long been forgotten. In 
its place it is the Consistence of die Universe, in the form of 
Omega Point, that I now hold, concentrated (whether above me 
or, rather, in the depths of my being, I cannot say) into one single 
indestructible centre, WHICH I CAN LOVE. 


Preliminary Note: the Reflection or Revelation of Omega Point 

The discovery of Omega brings to a close what I might call 
the natural branch of the inner trajectory I followed in my search 
for the ultimate consistence of die Universe. As we have just 
seen, it was not simply in the vague direction of 'Spirit 9 but in the 
form of a well-defined supra-personal focal point that a Heart of 
total Matter was disclosed to my experiential quest. Had I been 
an unbeliever and left entirely to the promptings of my Sense of 
Plenitude, I think that my inner exploration would have led me 
to the same spiritual peak; and it is even possible that a close 
rational study of the cosmic properties of Omega ('the complex 
unit in which the organic sum of the reflective elements of the 
World becomes irreversible within a transcendent Super-ego') 
would belatedly have led me, in a final stage, to recognize in an 
incarnate God the true Reflection, on our Noosphere, of the 
ultimate nucleus of totalization and consolidation that is bio- 
psychologically demanded by the evolution of a reflective living 

To be completely Man, it may well be that I would have been 
obliged to become Christian. 

But all this is gratuitous assumption. 

The fact is, fortunately for me, I was born right into the 
Catholic "phylum 9 ; and that means into the very centre of the 
privileged zone in which the ascending cosmic force of 'Com- 



plexity-Consciousness' joins the descending (and so drawing up 
to itself) flood of personal and personalizing attraction which is 
introduced between Heaven and Earth by the influence of 

The result of this was that in step with the spontaneous evolu- 
tion in me of the innate (or 'chromosomic') cosmic sense analysed 
above (Sections I and 2), another process (inaugurated in this 
instance by upbringing) has never ceased to operate in my mind and 
heart: by this I mean the awakening of a certain Christie Sense. 
In recording, as I now must, the phases of this process I shall have 
once again to return to my childhood memories. 

The cosmic sense and the christic sense: these two axes were 
born in me quite independently of one another, it would seem, 
and it was only after a long time and a great deal of hard work 
that I finally came to understand how, through and beyond the 
Human, the two were linked together, converged upon one 
another, and were in fact one and the same. 

a. The Heart of Jesus 

For all its unitive and communicant 9 power, and for all the 
emotional charge that from the very beginning resulted from 
that power, my contact with, and consciousness of, the Universe 
was bound, if left on its own, never to go beyond a certain com- 
paratively low degree of intimacy and warmth. Moving along 
die cosmic and biological road, Omega Point always lay just 
outside my grasp; this was because of a logical reconstruction 
which presented me with a 'deduced and conjectural 9 Entity 
rather than one entered into and experienced. A meeting of 
Centre with Centre, of Heart with Heart, these were anticipated 
rather than realized. On my part, no doubt, there was an effort 
of passionate intensity - but as yet there was no real love. In 
consequence there was a whole world between the two con- 



It called for a spark to fall upon me, if the glow was to burst into 

That spark, through which 'my Universe', as yet but half 
personalized, was to attain centridty by being amorized, that spark 
undoubtedly came to me through my mother: it was through 
her that it reached me from the current of Christian mysticism 
and both illuminated and inflamed my childish soul. 

Later, I was often to be astonished at seeing the extreme diffi- 
culty that many well disposed minds (many hungry minds, 
even) found in conceiving the mere possibility of a super- 
hominized love. 

This was far from being the case with me. 

Was this simply the effect of my earliest upbringing? Or was 
it, perhaps, the result of a certain 'psychic mutation' which 
gradually makes the Noosphere sensitive to the influences of 
Omega in the vicinity of the Christian axis ? Or was it both at the 
same time? 

Those are questions I cannot answer. 

All I know is, that thanks to a sort of habit which has always 
been ingrained in me, I have never, at any moment of my life, 
experienced the least difficulty in addressing myself to God as to a 
supreme someone. So true is this that I now understand that a 
certain 'love of the Invisible 5 has always been active in me, 16 
parallel to the 'congenital* cosmic sense which, as we have seen, 
is the 'backbone 5 of my inner life. 

This appetite was a gift to me from Heaven, and after it 
had first, working undetected, nourished my innate appetite 
for the Earth it ultimately came out into the open and effected 
a confluence with it. And this it did through a process of 
universalization 9 whose first two phases may be described, as I 
remember them, as a 'materialization 5 , soon to be followed by an 
'energizing 5 , of the notion of divine Love. 

To take the 'materialization 5 of Divine Love first. 

Biologically speaking, how could it have been otherwise in my 



Sucked in with my mother's milk, a 'supernatural 9 Sense of 
the Divine had flowed into me side by side with the 'natural' 
Sense of Plenitude. Each of these two appetites strove to be 
exclusive, but neither could wipe out the other. The only con- 
ceivable result of their conflict, therefore, was an assimilation of 
the supernatural (the less primitive and, genetically speaking, the 
more external) by the natural. And the only way in which the 
assimilation could be effected was by an interior adjustment of 
the Divine to the Evolutive: that is to say, an adjustment to the 
psychological law, proper to my nature, of being unable to 
worship anything except from a starting-point in the Tangible 
and Resistant 

My progress in this direction was made easier by the fact 
that 'my mother's God 9 was primarily, for me as much as for her, 
the incarnate Word. This sufficed for the establishment of a 
first contact, through the Humanity of Jesus, between the two 
halves of my fundamental being, the 'Christian 9 and the 'pagan 9 . 
It was precisely in that contact, however, that there reappeared 
the difficulty I have already mentioned of perceiving 'the Con- 
sistence of the Human 9 . 

How strange and ingenuous are the reactions that take place 
in the brain of a child! I can remember so well (see below, 
note 8) witnessing for the first time the distressing sight of a lock 
of hair being burnt up in the fire, and how my disappointment 
with the Organic instantaneously reacted on the very person of 
Christ ... If I was to be able fully to worship Christ, it was 
essential that as a first step I should be able to give him 'solidity*. 

And it was at this point in the story of my spiritual life that 
there emerged (and now I must beg my reader to suppress his 
smile) the central, seminal, part played by the 'devotion 9 with 
which my mother constantly sustained me: devotion to the 
Heart of Jesus, little though she suspected the transformations that 
were to be effected in it by my insatiable yearning for cosmic 

Everybody knows the historical background of the cult of the 



Sacred Heart (or of the Love of Christ): how it was always 
latent in the Church and then in the France of Louis XIV assumed 
an astonishingly vigorous form, which was at the same time 
oddly limited both in the object to which it was directed ('Repara- 
tion ) and in its symbol (the heart of our Saviour, depicted with 
curiously anatomical realism!). 

The remains of this narrow view can still, unfortunately, be 
seen today, both in a form of worship which is always obsessed 
by the idea of sin and in an iconography which we must needs 
deplore without too much vexation. For my own part, however, 
I can say that at no time has its influence held the least attraction 
for my piety. 

For die pious person of the seventeenth century the 'Sacred 
Heart 9 was, in effect, 'a part 9 (both material and formal) of 
Jesus - a selected, detached, part of the Redeemer : as happens when 
we isolate and enlarge some detail of a picture in order to be able 
to admire it more conveniendy. My own experience was quite 
different. The moment I saw a mysterious patch of crimson and 
gold delineated in the very centre of the Saviour's breast, I 
found what I was looking for - a way of finally escaping from 
everything that so distressed me in the complicated, fragile and 
individual organization of the Body of Jesus. It was an astounding 
release ! Not by a mere adjustment of the aperture (as in a camera), 
but as an effect of convergence and concentration, the whole 
physical and spiritual reality of Christ was visibly condensed for 
me into a well-defined, compact object from which all accidental 
and restrictive particularity disappeared: the first approach of a 
Christie beyond Christ, disclosing a remarkable homology 
between this new "milieu and the Metallic or Mineral which, at 
that very same time, were dominant in me - on the other side of 
the wall that still ran across my soul. 

It would be difficult for me to convey how deeply and force- 
fully, and with what continuity (long before the notion of the 
'Universal-Christ* became explicidy coherent in me) my 
religious life in the pre-war years developed under the sign of the 



Heart of Jesus, understood in this way, and with the sense of wonder 
it aroused in me. At that time, the more I tried to pray, the more 
deeply did God 'materialize 9 for me in a reality that was at once 
spiritual and tangible; in that reality, though as yet I hardly 
guessed it, the great synthesis was beginning to be effected in 
which my life's whole effort was to be summed up: the synthesis 
of the Above with the Ahead. 

It was the immersion of the Divine in the Corporeal: and an 
inevitable reaction brought the transfiguration (or transmutation) 
of the Corporeal into an incredible Energy of Radiation. 

In a first stage, my mother's Christ was in some way 'de- 
individualized 9 for me into a form that was 'substantially* hardly 
representational. But then came a second stage when this humano- 
divine 'solid 9 (like my earlier piece of iron, and under the same 
psychic pressure) lit up and exploded from within. There was no 
longer a patch of crimson in the centre of Jesus, but a glowing core 
of fire, whose splendour embraced every contour - first those of 
the God-Man - and then those of all things that lay within his 
ambience. 17 

I was still not yet 'in theology 9 when, through and under the 
symbol of the 'Sacred Heart 9 , the Divine had already taken 
on for me the form, the consistence and the properties of an 
energy, of a fire: by that I mean that it had become able to 
insinuate itself everywhere, to be metamorphosed into no matter 
what; and so, in as much as it was patient of being universalized, 
it could in future force its way into, and so amorize, the cosmic 
Milieu in which at exacdy the same moment I was (through 
another half of myself) engaged in making my home. 

b. The Universal Christ 

On one side - in my 'pagan 9 ego - a Universe which was becoming 
personalized through convergence. 

And on the other side - in my Christian ego - a Person (the 
Person of Christ) who was becoming universalized through 



By each of these two roads, that is to say, the Divine was 
joining itself, through all Matter, to all the Human, in the 
direction of the infinity of the ages lying ahead .... 

It is in this confluence, through complementary channels, of 
Heaven and the World, that the advances (and, I must not forget 
to add, the conflicts) of my interior life have continually been 
realized: always, moreover, as the years go by, with ever greater 
clarity and passion. 

Let us try, then, to understand both the advances and the 

l. The Conflicts 

Speaking in general terms we may say that until quite recent 
times, and in the West, mysticism (even Christian mysticism) 
has never doubted but that God must be looked for only 'in 
heaven 9 , that is to say in more or less direct and profound dis- 
continuity with 'here below'. 

To be spiritualized = to be de-materialized. 

Such was (and such, in a static Cosmos, had to be) the basic 
equation that expresses Holiness. 

Yet all the time (as we have seen) the natural movement of 
my thought had been carrying me not, indeed, in the opposite 
direction to, but athwart this traditional orientation. For me, 
Matter was the matrix of Consciousness ; and, wherever we looked, 
Consciousness, born of Matter, was always advancing towards 
some Ultra-Human. In other words, a second species of Spirit was 
emerging - and this species was no longer directly above our 
heads -. it lay transversely, appearing, we might say, on the 
horizon ... In the inmost depths of my soul 18 a struggle, between 
the God of the Above and a sort of new God of the Ahead was, 
through structural necessity, being produced by the definitive co- 
existence and the irresistible meeting in my heart of the cosmic 
Sense and the Christie Sense. 

I can look back and distinguish the first traces of this opposition 
in my years at school, when I remember my pathetic attempts to 



reconcile die evangelism (over-narrow, we must admit) of the 
Imitation, on which I drew for my morning prayers, with the 
attraction I found in Nature. Later, as a 'junior 9 in Jersey, I 
seriously considered the possibility of completely giving up the 
'Science of Rocks 9 , which I then found so exciting, in order to 
devote myself entirely to so-called 'supernatural 9 activities. And 
if I did not at that time 'run off the rails 9 , it is to the robust 
common sense of Pere T. (the novice-master) 19 that I owe it. In 
the event, Pere T. confined himself to assuring me that what the 
God of the Cross was looking for in me was the 'natural 9 expan- 
sion of my being as well as its sanctification - without explaining 
how or why. What he said, however, was enough to leave me with 
a firm grasp of both ends of the line. And so I emerged from that 
trial unscathed. Gradually, through the synthesis which is 
effected by experience, detachment and attachment, renunciation 
and development, automatically came together as one within 
me: and this was realized in a deliberate change of direction to 
the transverse. I explained the theory of this, about 1927, in the 
first chapter of Le Milieu Divin. 

Nevertheless, theory is still a long way from practice. 

Even today I am still learning by experience the dangers 
to which - by an inner law and necessity - he is exposed who 
finds himself led away from the well-beaten but now under- 
humanized path of a certain traditional ascesis, as he seeks in 
the direction of Heaven for a road (a road which is not a mean but 
a synthesis) where the whole dynamism of Matter and Flesh 
is directed into the genesis of Spirit. 20 

Supposing a man, in all sincerity of heart, has one day made up 
his mind to do what every man who seeks for holiness will 
increasingly find himself obliged to do: that is, to allow the 
ascensional Faith in God and the forward-driving Faith in the 
Ultra-human to react freely upon one another in the depths of 
his being - then such a man will at times be unable to shake off a 
feeling of terror. He will not be able to hold back, but he will be 
frightened by the novelty, the boldness and at the same time the 



paradoxical potentialities of attitudes that lie finds himself, 
intellectually and emotionally, obliged to adopt if he is to be 
faithful to his fundamental aim: which is to attain Heaven by 
bringing Earth to its fulfilment. 

To Christify Matter: that sums up the whole venture of my 
innermost being ... a grand and glorious venture; (and I still 
tremble often, even as I pursue it) - but I found it impossible not 
to hazard myself in it, so powerful was the force with which the 
levels of the Universal and the Personal came together and 
gradually closed up, over my head, to form one single vault. 

2. Conflict becomes Progress 

Christ. His Heart. A Fire: a fire with the power to penetrate all 

things - and which was now gradually spreading unchecked. 

At the root of this invasion and envelopment I can distinguish, 
I believe, the rapidly increasing importance that was being 
assumed in my spiritual life by the Sense of 'the Will of God': 
fidelity to the divine Will, by which I mean fidelity to a directed 
and realized omnipresence, which can be apprehended both 
actively and passively in every element of the World and in all 
its events. Although at first I did not precisely realize the bridge 
by which this eminendy Christian attitude connected my love of 
Christ and my love of Things, nevertheless I have always, ever 
since the first years of my religious life, gladly surrendered myself 
to this active feeling of communion with God through the 
Universe. It was a decisive emergence of this 'pan-Christie* 
mysticism, finally matured in the two great atmospheres of Asia 
and the War, that was reflected in 1924 and 1927 by The Mass on 
the World and Le Milieu Divin. 

A decisive emergence, let me repeat - and one that I could at 
that time regard as complete. In fact, however, it still lacked 
something that was needed for its full release. 

Let me explain what this was. 

Today, when I re-read the so undisguisedly fervent pages o£Le 
Milieu Divin, I am astonished to find how fully all the essential 



features of my Christo-cosmic vision were already determined at 
the time I wrote the book. On the other hand, I note with some 
surprise the vagueness and fluidity of the picture of the Universe 
that I still had in those days. 

It is true that as a basis for the pan-communion by which I 
was then obsessed and intoxicated, I already possessed a World 
made up of organically woven elements and organically linked 
layers. But this enveloping organicity, the specific foundation of 
the Christie Diaphany, still existed for me, both spiritually and 
sensibly, in a form that I can only describe as diffuse. At that 
time, about 1930, the Convergence of the cosmos, with its whole 
train of consequent ideas (the Law of Complexity-Consciousness, 
the Confluence of human branches, the existence of an Omega 
Point at the head of Noogenesis) - none of that had as yet become 
distinctly clear to me. My then "Weltanschauung 9 did not go far 
beyond a vast Plurality, whose nebula was illuminated by, but 
not yet concentrated in, the rays of the divine Star. 

It was to be the task and the never-ending delight of the next 
twenty years to see, as I looked around me, how - step by step, 
and in step with one another - the two Densities came to reinforce 
one another: the Christie Density, and the cosmic Density of a 
World whose "communicant power* I could see constantly rising 
as its 'convergent power 9 also rose. 

At first, if I was to "mould and experience* Christ in all things, 
all that I had at hand for this purpose was only the detail of 
events and beings. Gradually, as my mind came to understand 
the reality of the one vast psychogenic involution of the whole 
of Matter upon itself, so each new circle that I traced out in this 
fantastic spiral was to give solidity to the divine Ascendancy and 
to make me more tangibly conscious of its grasp. 

Not in a metaphysical but in a physical sense, the Energy of 
Incarnation was to flow into, and so illuminate and give warmth 
to, ever wider and more tighdy encircling forms of embrace. 

And this led up to the moment when the upper term of that 
movement was reached, and it became possible to discern a won- 



derful confluence: no longer merely in a vague way between 
Christ and Matter, but between a Christ who was distinctly seen as 
'evolver' and a cosmic Centre which was positively attributed to 

Thus 1 reached the Heart of the universalized Christ coinciding 
with the heart of amorized Matter. 

c. The Divine Milieu 

As a result of the particular structure of a mind polarized sim- 
ultaneously in the plane of Heaven and in that of Earth, there 
was a danger, as we have seen, that two tendencies might cause 
the progress of my evolution to deviate as it advanced. If I 
followed the eastern and pagan line, I might allow my being to 
relax and dissolve into the universal Sphere. Or I might do the 
exact opposite and try to escape from that Sphere by tearing 
myself away or making a sharp cleavage. These were my Scylla 
and Charybdis, retrogressive materialization or dehumanizing 
spiritualization; and if, by the grace of God, I managed to avoid 
them both, it was because the day came when I saw that a World 
which had already been recognized as essentially convergent offered a 
third road towards Unity: and the right road, too. This consisted 
in reaching, at the heart of the cosmic Sphere, the mysterious 
double point where the Multiple, now completely ordered in its 
own organic structure, is reflected upon itself and so emerges from 
within into a Transcendent. 

Here we move into what is indeed a remarkable, an astonishing, 
region where the Cosmic, the Human and the Christie meet and 
so open up a new domain, the Centric; and there the manifold 
oppositions which constitute the unhappiness and anxieties of our 
life begin to disappear. 

Under the irresistible pressure of a planet that is contracting 
upon itself, we constantly feel, in ourselves and all around 
ourselves, a heightening of the antagonism between the 'tangen- 
tial' forces that make us dependent upon one another, and the 



'radial' aspirations that urge us towards attaining the incom- 
municable core of our own person. We recoil from the prospect 
of an inevitable totalization which threatens to imprison us in a 
sort of 'secondary Matter 9 made up of a mass of accumulated 
determinisms. We are terrified, too, when we see that mechaniza- 
tion may bring an end that is as much to be dreaded as a death 
through disintegration and return to 'Prime Matter'. 

It is like a dream; we feel that we are caught up in the gyrations 
of some infernal circle. 

And yet, it is from this very nightmare, in fact, that we are 
awoken by the first rays of a universal Centre of convergence and 
attraction, in which the bonds that make us one whole reach the 
upper limit of their complexity and then tend to merge into the 
magnetic force that pulls our ego ever more rapidly into what lies 
ahead. This is the miraculous effect that is specific to the Centric, 
which does not dissolve nor subordinate the elements it brings 
together, but personalizes them. And this because its way of 
absorbing them is constandy to 'centrify' them more and more. 
We may, indeed, say that at these high latitudes of the Universe 
Totalization reduces the Multiple to the One by synthesis, and so 
acts as a liberating agent. In other words, Matter becomes Spirit 
at just the same pace as love begins to spread universally. 

From the first moment, of course, when, to my inner eye, 
'the Gold of Spirit' replaced 'the Crimson of Matter and started 
to swing towards 'the Incandescence of Some One', the World 
had begun, at least as a logical consequence, to affect me emotion- 
ally as a blaze of fire. By the mere appearance at the peak of 
Evolution of the Personal, the Universe was potentially becoming 
for me something that loved and could be loved. Even so, it 
called for nothing short of the coincidence of Christ with Omega 
Point for my eyes to be opened, in an explosion of dazzling 
flashes, to the astonishing phenomenon of a general global 
conflagration - the effect of total amorization. 

Love • • • since all time, this strange force has puzzled and 
fascinated the masters of human thought by its ubiquity, its 



fiery vigour and the infinitely variegated spectrum of the forms 
it assumes; but I now see tHat it is only in the Christo-centric 
area of a noogenetic Universe that it is released in the pure state 
and so displays its astonishing power to transform every thing and 

From the point of view of the convergent Evolution to which 
sixty years of varied experience and of thought has introduced 
me and in which I am now at home, the whole cosmic Event may 
be reduced in its essence to one single vast process of arrange- 
ment, whose mechanism (that is, the use of the effects of Large 
Numbers and the play of Chance) is governed by statistical 
necessity: so that at every moment it releases a given quantity of 
events that cause distress (failures, disintegrations, death . . • ) 
There are two sides to this operation, the constructive and the 
destructive; and when Christ is installed at Omega Point it is both 
these two sides that are covered and permeated by a flood of 
unitive force. In one great surge, Cosmogenesis becomes personal- 
ized, both in the things it adds, which centrify us for Christ, and in 
the things it subtracts, which draw us out of our own centres onto 
him; thus it suddenly takes on, even in its most inexorable and 
most veiled determinisms, the form of a contact at innumerable 
points with a supreme Pole of attraction and completion. A 
current of love is all at once released, to spread over the whole 
breadth and depth of the World: and this it does not as though it 
were some super-added warmth of fragrance, but as a funda- 
mental essence which will metamorphose all things, assimilate 
and take the place of all . . . 

For a long time Science has made us familiar with the idea 
that all physical energy, if traced back evolutively 'to the bottom', 
tends to dissipate into heat within a World that has lost tension 
and vitality. Is it not most remarkable that an integral Energetics 
of the Universe should lead us in the end to a concept that 
exacdy matches and complements our former idea? If it is taken 
to its limit in the direction of a cosmic pole of unification, every- 
thing we experience and even everything we see displays a 



singular 'bias' for transforming itself into love. This means that 
while love seemed initially to be ho more than the charm, the 
allure, and then, later, the operative essence of all spiritual 
activity, it tends gradually, as experienced by us, to become the 
chief part of that activity - and finally its only, and supreme, 

Sola cantos ... 

When all is said and done, I can see this : I managed to climb up 
to the point where the Universe became apparent to me as a 
great rising surge, in which all the work that goes into serious 
enquiry, all the will to create, all the acceptance of suffering, 
converge ahead into a single dazzling spear-head - now, at the 
end of my life, I can stand on the peak I have scaled and continue 
to look ever more closely into the future, and there, with ever 
more assurance, see the ascent of God. 

d. Towards the Discovery of God, or an Appeal to Him who Comes 

For a long time, absorbed in the delight of seeing how every 
single thing around me was simultaneously centred, consolidated 
and amorized, I confined my attention to one thing only in the 
vast phenomenon of Classification which the coincidence of the 
World and God disclosed to me ; and that was the rise within my 
own self of the forces of Communion. Everything was directed 
towards the intensification of the Stuff of the cosmos, so that in 
that Stuff the Presence of God might be intensified for me. I 
can see quite clearly how the inspiration behind 'The Mass on the 
World 9 and Le Milieu Divin and their writing belong to that 
somewhat self-centred and self-enclosed period of my interior 

The reason for this was that by one of those odd effects of 
inhibition that so often prevent us from recognizing what is 
staring us in the face, I failed to understand that as God 'meta- 
morphized' the World from the depths of matter to the peaks of 
Spirit, so in addition the World must inevitably and to die same 



degree 'endomorphize' God. As a direct consequence of the 
unitive process by which God is revealed to us, he in some way 
'transforms himself 9 as he incorporates us. So, it is no longer a 
matter of simply seeing Him and allowing oneself to he envel- 
oped and penetrated by Him - we have to do more: we have pari 
passu (if not first of all) to disclose Him (or even, in one sense of the 
word, 'complete* Him) ever more fully. Such, today, seems to 
me the essential step to be taken by hominized Evolution, and 
such its essential concern. 

All around us, and within our own selves, God is in process of 
'changing', as a result of the coincidence of his magnetic power 
and our own Thought. As the "Quantity of cosmic Union 9 rises, 
so his brilliance increases and the glow of his colouring grows 
richer. There at last we recognize, and can express in words, the 
Great Event, the Great Tidings. 

Ever since my childhood an enigmatic force had been impelling 
me, apparently in conflict with the "Supernatural 9 , towards some 
Ultra-human; and in trying to pin it down I had become 
accustomed to regard it as emanating not from God but from some 
rival Star. All I had to do, then, was to bring that Star into con- 
junction with God and dependence upon Him. 

The time had now come when I could see one thing: that, 
from the depths of the cosmic future as well as from the heights 
of Heaven, it was still God, it was always the same God, who was 
calling me. It was a God of the Ahead who had suddenly appeared 
athwart the traditional God of the Above, so that henceforth we can 
no longer worship jutty unless we superimpose those two images 
so that they form one. 

A new Faith in which the ascensional Faith that rises up towards 
a Transcendent, and the propulsive Faith that drives towards an 
Immanent, form a single compound - a new Charity in which all 
the Earth's dynamic passions combine as they are divinized: it is 
this, I now see with a vision that will never leave me, that the 
World is desperately in need of at this very moment, if it is not 
to collapse. 



Classical metaphysics had accustomed us to seeing in die 
World - which it regarded as an object of 'Creation* - a sort 
of extrinsic product which had issued from God's supreme 
efficient power as the fruit of his overflowing benevolence. I 
find myself now irresistibly led - and this precisely because it 
enables me both to act and to love in the fullest degree - to a 
view that harmonizes with the spirit of St Paul: I see in the World 
a mysterious product of completion and fulfilment for the Absol- 
ute Being himself.* 1 It is no longer participated Being of extra- 
position and divergence, but participated Being of pleromization and 
convergence. It is the effect, no longer of creative Causality, but of 
creative Union. 

At the same time, too, I see that it is Christ who first makes 
himself cosmic' and then in some way makes himself absolute 9 . 

There is an objection that we more and more often hear raised 
by Gentiles against Christians: that, by the very fact of the inter- 
position of Jesus between Man and God, our notion of God is 
arrested and, we might say, atrophied in its developments. As a 
result, they say, Christianity no longer stimulates the need to 
worship, for die modern mind, but rather paralyses it. How 
often have I myself come close to believing this - and how often, 
quite apart from that, have I not heard it said! 

It is as though we believed in a Christ who diminished the 
stature of God ... 

How quickly, however, and how permanently, that fatal 
suspicion vanishes the very moment we become sensitive to the 
mysticism of today and so perceive that precisely because of 
those characteristics that would at first appear to confine him too 
strictly to the particular, an historically incarnate God is on the 
contrary the only God who can satisfy not only the inflexible 
laws of a Universe in which nothing is produced or appears 
except by way of birth, but also the irrepressible aspirations of our 
own mind. 

For the basic truth is: 

If we say 'God of the Above'+'God of the Ahead', what does 



this new equation, fundamental to all Religion in the future, give 
us if not an ultimate whose dimensions are 'theocosmic', that is 

In a system of Creative Union, it is not only the Universe but 
God himself who is necessarily 'Christified' in Omega, at the 
upper limits of Cosmogenesis. In other words, 'evolved* Mono- 
theism, around which all that is best in the Earth's religious 
energies undoubtedly seems to be concentrating, is moving to its 
logical and biological fulfilment in the direction of some Pan- 

With no limit to his capacity for being extended and adapted 
to the World's new dimension and, in addition, with an in- 
exhaustible charge of evolutive energy for our hearts - so there is 
growing in our firmament, to the scale of and at the demand of the 
Ultra-human, a true Super-Christ, in all the radiance of Super- 

Prayer to the Ever-Greater Christ 

Because, Lord, by every innate impulse and through all the 
hazards of my life I have been driven ceaselessly to search for you 
and to set you in the heart of the universe of matter, I shall have 
the joy, when death comes, of closing my eyes amidst the 
splendour of a universal transparency aglow with fire . . . 

It is as if the fact of bringing together and connecting the two 
poles, tangible and intangible, external and internal, of the world 
which bears us onwards had caused everything to burst into 
flames and set everything free. 

In the guise of a tiny babe in its mother's arms, obeying the 
great law of birth, you came, Lord Jesus, to swell in my infant 
soul; and then, as you re-enacted in me - and in so doing extended 
the range of - your growth through the Church, that same 
humanity which once was born and dwelt in Palestine began now 
to spread out gradually everywhere like an iridescence of un- 
numbered hues through which, without destroying anything, 
your presence penetrated - and endued with supervitality - every 



other presence about me. 

And all this took place because, in a universe which was dis- 
closing itself to me as structurally convergent, you, by right of 
your resurrection, had assumed the dominating position of all- 
inclusive Centre in which everything is gathered together. 

A fantastic molecular swarm which - either falling like snow 
from the inmost recesses of the Infinitely Diffuse - or on the other 
hand surging up like smoke from the explosion of some Infinitely 
Simple - an awe-inspiring multitude, indeed, which whirls us 
around in its tornado ! ... It is in this terrifying granular Energy 
that you, Lord - so that I may be able the better to touch you, or 
rather, who knows ? to be more closely embraced by you - have 
clothed yourself for me : nay, it is of this that you have formed your 
very Body. And for many years I saw in it no more than a 
wonderful contact with an already completed Perfection . . . 

Until that day, and it was only yesterday, when you made me 
realize that when you espoused Matter it was not merely its 
Immensity and its Organicity that you had taken on: what you 
did was to absorb, concentrate, and make entirely your own, its 
unfathomable reserves of spiritual energies. 

So true is this that ever since that time you have become for my 
mind and heart much more than He who was and who is; you 
have become He who shall be. 

For some of your servants, Lord, the World, our New World 
- the world of nuclei, of atoms and genes - has become a source 
of constant anxiety: because it seems to us now so mobile, so 
irresistible, and so big! The increasing probability (to which 
we conspire to close our eyes) of other thinking planets in the 
firmament ... the unmistakable rebound of an evolution that 
has become capable, through planetary effort, of governing its 
own direction and speed ... the rising over our horizon, as an 
effect of ultra-reflection, of an Ultra-human ... all this seems 
frightening to a man who, as he still shrinks from flinging himself 
into the great ocean of Matter, is afraid that he may see his God 
burst asunder in the acquisition of a new dimension . . . 



Yet can anything, Lord, in fact do more for my understanding 
and my soul to make you an object of love, the only object of 
love, than to see that you - the Centre ever opened into your own 
deepest core - continue to grow in intensity, that there is an 
added glow to your lustre, at the same pace as you pleromize 
yourself by gathering together the Universe and subjecting it 
ever more fully at the heart of your being ('until the time for 
returning, You and the World in You, to the bosom of Him from 
whom You came') ? 

The more the years go by, Lord, the more I believe that I 
can see that in myself and in the world around me the most 
important though unvoiced concern of modern Man is much less 
a struggle for the possession of the World than a search for a way 
of escaping from it. The agony of feeling that one is imprisoned 
in the cosmic Bubble, not so much spatially as ontologically! 
The fretful hunt for a way out for Evolution - or, more exactly, 
for its point of focus! In the modern world, that is the sorrow, 
the price to be paid for. a growing planetary Reflection, that lies 
heavy, but as yet hardly recognized, on the soul of both Christian 
and Gentile. 

As mankind emerges into consciousness of the movement that 
carries it along, it has a continually more urgent need of a 
Direction and a Solution ahead and above, to which it will at last 
be able to consecrate itself. 

Who, then is this God, no longer the God of the old Cosmos but 
the God of the new Cosmogenesis - so constituted precisely 
because the effect of a mystical operation that has been going on 
for two thousand years has been to disclose in you, beneath the 
Child of Bethlehem and the Crucified, the moving Principle and 
the all-embracing Nucleus of the World itself? Who is this God 
for whom our generation looks so eagerly ? Who but you, Jesus, 
who represent him and bring him to us? 

Lord of consistence and union, you whose distinguishing mark 
and essence is the power indefinitely to grow greater, without 
distortion or loss of continuity, to the measure of the mysterious 



Matter whose Heart you fill and all whose movements you 
ultimately control - Lord of my childhood and Lord of my last 
days - God, complete in relation to yourself and yet, for us, 
continually being born - God, who, because you offer yourself 
to our worship as 'evolver and 'evolving', are henceforth the 
only being that can satisfy us - sweep away at last the clouds that 
still hide you - the clouds of hostile prejudice and those, too, of 
false creeds. 

Let your universal Presence spring forth in a blaze that is at 
once Diaphany and Fire. 

O ever-greater Christ! 


The Feminine, or the Unitive** 

The living heart of die Tangible is the Flesh. And for Man the 
Flesh means Woman. 

Ever since my childhood I had been engaged in die search for 
the Heart of Matter, and so it was inevitable that sooner or later I 
should come up against the Feminine. The only curious thing 
is that in the event it was not until my thirtieth year that this 
happened: so powerful was the fascination that the Impersonal 
and the Generalized held for me. 

It was, therefore, a strange time-lag. 

On the other hand, it was rewarding, because the new energy 
entered into my soul at the very moment, on the eve of the war, 
when my Sense of the Cosmos and Sense of Man were emerging 
from their childhood; thus there was no longer any danger that 
it might divert or dissipate my forces. Instead, it was super- 
imposed, at just the right moment, on a world of spiritual 
aspirations whose vastness, still a little lacking in warmth, 
needed only that energy in order to ferment and become com- 
pletely organized. 



As I tell the story in these pages of my inner vision, I would be 
leaving out an essential element, or atmosphere, if I did not add 
in conclusion that from the critical moment when I rejected 
many of the old moulds in which my family life and my religion 
had formed me and began to wake up and express myself in 
terms that were really my own, I have experienced no form of 
self-development without some feminine eye turned on me, 
some feminine influence at work. 

When I say this, you will understand, of course, that I mean 
simply that general, half-worshipping, homage which sprang 
from the depths of my being and was paid to those women whose 
warmth and charm have been absorbed, drop by drop, into the 
life-blood of my most cherished ideas. 

In such a matter it is impossible for me to use exact language 
or to draw an exact picture, - on the other hand, what I can 
speak about with certainty is a double conviction that pro- 
gressively asserted itself in me from my contact with facts; let 
me, now that I can write with all the serenity and impartiality 
that come with years, tell you about this. 

In the first place, it seems to be indisputable (both logically and 
factually) that there can be for man - even if he be devoted to the 
service of a Cause or of a God, and however great that devotion - 
no road to spiritual maturity or plenitude except through some 
'emotional' influence, whose function is to sensitize his under- 
standing and stimulate, at least initially, his capacity for love. 
Every day supplies more irrefutable evidence that no man at all 
can dispense with the Feminine, any more than he can dispense 
with light, or oxygen, or vitamins. 

Secondly, however primordial in human psychism the plcnify- 
ing encounter of the sexes may be, and however essential to its 
structure, there is nothing to prove (indeed, die opposite is much 
more true) that we yet have an exact idea of the functioning of 
this fundamental complementarity or of the best forms in which it 
can be effected We have a marriage that is always polarized, 
socially, towards reproduction, and a religious perfection that is 



always represented, theologically, in terms of separation: and 
there can be no doubt but that we lack a third road between the 
two. I do not mean a middle road, but a higher, a road that is 
demanded by the revolutionary transformation that has recently 
been effected in our thought by the transposition of the notion of 
'spirit 9 . For the spirit that comes from dematerialization, we have 
seen, we have substituted the spirit that comes from synthesis. 
Materia matrix. It is no longer a matter of retreating (by abstin- 
ence) from the unfathomable spiritual powers that still lie dor- 
mant under the mutual attraction of the sexes, but of conquering 
them by sublimation. Such, I am ever more convinced, is the 
hidden essence of Chastity, and such the magnificent task that 
awaits it. 28 

Both those assertions fall into place and are justified if we look 
at them from the following point of view : 

In my interpretation of Noogenesis, I have so far emphasized 
the phenomenon of individual super-centration, which causes the 
consciousness of the corpuscular to fold back upon itself and 
thence rebound in the form of Thought. But now an essential 
complement to this great cosmic event of Reflection becomes 
apparent to the informed eye, and it takes the form of what we 
might call 'the Break-through into Amorization\ Even after the 
flash of illumination in which the individual is suddenly revealed 
to himself, elementary Man would remain but half complete if 
he did not come into contact with the other sex and so, under the 
centric attraction of person-to-person, explode into flame. 

First, we have the appearance of a reflective monad, and then, to 
complete it, the formation of an affective dyad. 

And, after that, and only after that (that is, starting from this 
first spark) all that we have described follows in sequence -the 
gradual and majestic development of a Neo-cosmic, of an Ultra- 
human, and of a Pan-Christie • . • 

All three not only illuminated in their very roots by Intelli- 
gence, but also impregnated throughout their entire mass, 

as though bonded by a unifying cement, 



by the Universal Feminine. 
Paris, 30 October 1950 


As a vindication of what has been said above, it may be useful, I 
believe, to reproduce here two pieces that are particularly 
representative of my state of mind at the very time (the war period) 
when my inner vision was being aroused into its definitive form. 

The first of these was written on die eve of the attack 011 
Douaumont (October, 1916) and is extracted from one of "Three 
stories in the style of Benson.* 4 

The second, printed here in its entirety, dates from the summer 
of 1919, and was written in Jersey. 

Both express more successfully than I could today the heady 
emotion I experienced at that time from my contact with Matter. 

i.Christ in Matter 

'My friend is dead, die man who drank from all Life as from a 
hallowed Spring. His heart consumed him with fire within. His 
body has vanished in die Earth, before Verdun. Now I can repeat 
to myself some of the words by which he initiated me into the 
intense vision which brought light and peace to his life. 

'You wish to know, 9 he would say to me, 'how the mighty 
and multiple Universe came to assume for me the form of Christ ? 
That was something that happened gradually; and intuitions that 
so remould our spirit are difficult to analyse in words. Still, I 
can try to tell you about some of the experiences that allowed the 
light of day to pour into my soul, from below - as though a 
curtain were being raised in successive jerks. 9 

The Picture 

V. . At that time, 9 he began, 'my mind was concerned with a 



problem that was half philosophic and half aesthetic. Suppose, I 
used to think, that Christ should deign to appear here, in the flesh, 
before my very eyes - what would he look like ? Most important 
of all, in what way would he fit himself into Matter and so be 
sensibly apprehended? How would he impinge on the objects 
around him? And I felt that there was something vaguely 
distressing, something that grated on me, in the idea that the 
Body of the Lord could be jostled in the world-scene by the 
multitude of inferior bodies without the latter's noticing or 
recognizing by some perceptible change the Intensity that brushed 
against them. 

Meanwhile, my eyes had unconsciously come to rest on a 
picture that represented Christ with his Heart offered to men. 
This picture was hanging in front of me, on the wall of a church 
into which I had gone to pray. And, continuing my line of 
thought, I could not see how it could be possible for an artist to 
represent the sacred Humanity of Jesus without giving him this 
over-exact physical definition, which seemed to cut him off from 
all other men: without giving him a face whose expression was 
too individual - a beautiful face, no doubt, but beautiful in a 
particular way which excluded all other types of beauty. 

I was worrying and wondering about all this; and I was still 
looking at the picture when the vision began. 

(Indeed, I cannot be certain exacdy when it began, because it 
had already reached a certain pitch of intensity when I became 
aware of it . . .) 

All I know is that as I let my eyes roam over the outlines of the 
picture, I suddenly realized that they were melting. They were 
melting, but in a very special way that I find it difficult to describe. 
When I tried to distinguish the drawing of the Person of Christ, 
die lines seemed to be sharply defined. And then, if I relaxed my 
visual concentration, the whole of Christ's outline, die folds of his 
robe, the bloom of his skin, merged (though without disappear- 
ing) into all the rest. 

You might have said that the edge which divided Christ from 



the surrounding World was changing into a layer of vibration in 
which all distinct delimitation was lost. 

As I remember it, the change must first have been noticeable 
in a particular spot on the edge of the picture; it started there, 
and then ran all round the outline of the figure - it was in that 
order, at any rate, that I became aware of it And then, after that, 
the metamorphosis spread rapidly and included every detail. 

First I noticed that the vibrant atmosphere which formed a halo 
around Christ was not confined to a narrow strip encircling him, 
but radiated into Infinity. From time to time what seemed to be 
trails of phosphorescence streamed across it, in which could be 
seen a continuous pulsing surge which reached out to the furthest 
spheres of Matter - forming a sort of crimson ganglion, or ner- 
vous network, running across every substance. 

The whole Universe was vibrating. And yet, when I tried to 
look at the details one by one, I found them still as sharply drawn, 
their individual character still intact. 

All this movement seemed to emanate from Christ - from 
his Heart in particular. And it was while I was trying to find my 
way back to the source of this effluence and determine its 
rhythm that my attention returned to the portrait itself, and then 
I saw the vision rapidly mount to its climax. 

... I see that I have forgotten to tell you how Christ was 
dressed. His "raiment was white as the light 9 , as we read in the 
account of the Transfiguration. But what struck me most was 
that it was not woven on any loom - unless the hand of the Angels 
is the hand of Matter. It was from no crudely spun thread that 
warp and weft were made; but Matter, a florescence of Matter, 
had spontaneously woven itself, working with the most intimate 
essence of its substance, to produce a magically textured lawn. 
And I thought I could see the interlocked fibres running on and 
on, harmoniously combining to form a natural design which was 
built into them from their first beginning. 

And yet, you must understand, I could not give my full 
attention to this garment, so marvellously woven by the endless 



co-operation of all the energies of Matter and its whole order. It 
was the transfigured Face of the Master that drew me and 
held me. 

At night time, you have often seen some stars that change the 
quality of their light: at one moment they are blood-red beads, 
and then they take on the shimmer of purple velvet. Similarly, 
you have seen the colours of the rainbow float in a transparent 

It was thus that the light and the colours of all the beauties 
we know shone, with an inexpressible iridescence, over the 
face of Jesus, itself unmoved. I cannot say whether it was an 
expression of my own wishes or whether it was the choice of 
Him who determined and knew my tastes; but one thing I 
know, that these countless modifications, instinct with majesty, 
sweetness, and irresistible appeal, followed one another in 
succession, were transformed, melted into one another in a 
harmony that was utterly satisfying to me. 

And all this time, beneath this surface movement - both 
supporting it and concentrating it in a higher unity - floated 
the incommunicable Beauty of Christ . . . Again, I guessed at 
rather than apprehended that Beauty; for every time I tried to 
see through the screen of lesser beauties that hid it from me, other 
particular and fragmentary beauties came to the surface and 
drew a veil between me and True Beauty ; even as they allowed 
me to glimpse it and stimulated my longing. 

The whole Face gave out this radiance regulated by this same 
law. But the centre of radiation and iridescence was hidden in the 
eyes of the transfigured portrait. 

The Reflection - or was it the Creative Form, the Idea ? - of all 
that can charm, of all that has life, overlaid, in a rainbow, the 
rich depths of those eyes . . . And as I tried to read the secret of 
the luminous simplicity of their fire, it dissolved into a fathomless 
complexity in which were united all that the expressive eye has 
ever held to bring warmth to the heart of man and enthral it. 
For example, those eyes, which at first were so sweet and tender 



that I thought it was my mother that I saw, became in the next 
moment as full of passion and as dominating as those of a 
sovereign lady - so imperiously pure, at the same time, that it 
would have been physically impossible for sensibility to be mis- 
guided. And then again they were filled with a great and virile 
majesty, akin to that which can be seen in the eyes of a man who 
has great courage or great strength - and yet incomparably more 
lofty and more delightful in its mastery. 

This scintillation of beauties was so total, so all-embracing, and 
at the same time so swift, that it reached down into the very power- 
house of my being, flooding through it in one surge, so that my 
whole self vibrated to the very core of me, with a full note of 
explosive bliss that was completely and utterly unique. 

Now, while I eagerly concentrated my attention on the very 
pupils of Christ's eyesj, in which I saw an infinite depth of Life, 
enchanting and glowing, from those same depths I saw a sort of 
cloud forming, which overlaid and drowned the shifting play of 
expression that I have been trying to describe. Gradually a look 
of extraordinary intensity spread over the fluctuating shades of 
emphasis I could read in die divine glance, first seeping into 
them and then absorbing them into itself 

I was completely at a loss. 

I found it impossible to decipher this final expression, which 
dominated and summed up all that had gone before. I could not 
say whether it evidenced an unspeakable agony or, on the con- 
trary, an excess of triumphant joy. All I know is that, since that 
occasion, I believe I have seen a hint of it once, and that was in the 
eyes of a dying soldier. 

My own eyes were instantly dimmed by tears. But when I was 
able to look again at the picture of Christ in the church, it had 
resumed its over-defined outline and the blank immobility of its 

• . . 'I have always,' my friend went on, 'had a soul that is by 



nature pantheist. I used to feel its irrepressible innate aspirations; 
but I was afraid to give free rein to them because I did not know 
how to reconcile diem with my faith. Since these various 
experiences (and there were others, too) I can say that I found that 
my life held an inexhaustible interest for me and brought me a 
peace that nothing could disturb. 

I live in the bosom of a unique Element, the Centre and the 
individuality of all - personal Love and cosmic Power. 

To enable me to reach it and to unite myself to it, I have die 
whole Universe before me, with its noble struggles, with its 
thrilling explorations, with its countless souls to be restored to 
health and brought to perfection. I can fling myself to die point of 
exhaustion into the full stream of man's work. The more fully I 
play my part, the more I shall rest on die whole surface of die Real, 
the more I shall reach Christ and cling to Him. 

God, eternal Being-in-himself, is everywhere, we might say, in 
process of formation jpr us. 

And God is also the Heart of All So true is this that the vast 
scene of the Universe may grow dark or arid, or may be taken 
from me by death, without diminishing my fundamental joy. 
The dust that is animated by an aureole of energy and glory 
might be scattered and vanish, but substantial Reality, in which 
all perfection is gathered, never to know corruption, would 
remain intact The rays would fold back into their Source: and 
there I should still clasp diem in my embrace. 

That is why even War itself does not disconcert me. In a few 
days 9 time we shall be sent in to recapture Douaumont - a grand 
gesture which symbolizes for me an undeniable advance by the 
World towards the liberation of souls. Make no mistake. I am 
going into this show in a spirit of religion, impelled by a single 
driving force in which I cannot determine where human passion 
ends and worship begins. 

And if I do not come back from up there, I would like my 
body to remain, moulded into the clay of the redoubts, like a 
living mortar laid by God between the stones of die New City/ 



Thus it was, on an October evening, that my dearly loved 
friend spoke to me - die man whose soul was in instinctive com- 
munication with the unique Life of all things - and whose body 
no wrests, as he wished, some where in the lonely earth. 

Nant-fe-Grand (before the attack on Fort Douaumont) 14 October 1916 

2. The Spiritual Power of Matter 

And as they went on walking and talking together, behold a fiery chariot and fiery 
horses parted them both asunder; and of a sudden Elijah was caught up by a whirlwind 
into heaven. 


The man was walking in the desert, followed by his companion, 
when the Thing swooped down on him. 

From afar it had appeared to him, quite small, gliding over the 
sand, no bigger than the palm of a child's hand - as a pale, 
fleeting shadow like a wavering flight of quail over the blue sea 
before sunrise or a cloud of gnats dancing in the sun at evening 
or a whirlwind of dust at midday sweeping over the plain. 

The Thing seemed to take no heed of the two travellers, and 
was roaming capriciously through the wilderness. Then, suddenly, 
it assumed a set course and with the speed of an arrow came 
straight at them. 

And then the man perceived that the little pale cloud of vapour 
was but the centre of an infinitely greater reality moving to wards 
them without restriction, formless, boundless. The Thing as it 
approached them spread outwards with prodigious rapidity as 
far as his eye could reach, filling the whole of space, while its feet 
brushed lightly over the thorny vegetation beside the torrent, its 
brow rose in the sky like a golden mist with the reddening sun 
behind it. And all about it the ether had become alive, vibrating 
palpably beneath the crude substance of rocks and plants as in 
summer the landscape quivers behind the overheated soil in the 

What was advancing towards them was the moving heart of an 



immeasurable pervasive subtlety. 

The man fell prostrate to the ground; and hiding his face in his 
hands he waited. 

A great silence fell around him. 

Then, suddenly, a breath of scorching air passed across his fore- 
head, broke through the barrier of his closed eyelids, and pene- 
trated his soul. The man felt that he was ceasing to be merely him- 
self; an irresistible rapture took possession of him as though all 
the sap of all living things, flowing at one and the same moment 
into the too narrow confines of his heart, was mightily refashion- 
ing the enfeebled fibres of his being. And at the same time the 
anguish of some superhuman peril oppressed him, a confused 
feeling that the force which had swept down upon him was 
equivocal, turbid, the combined essence of all evil and all good- 

The hurricane was within himself. 

And now, in the very depths of the being it had invaded, the 
tempest of life, infinitely gentle, infinitely brutal, was murmuring 
to the one secret point in the soul which it had not altogether 

'You called me: here I am. Driven by the Spirit far from 
humanity's caravan routes, you dared to venture into the un- 
touched wilderness; grown weary of abstractions, of attenuations, 
of the wordiness of social life, you wanted to pit yourself against 
Reality entire and untamed. 

'You had need of me in order to grow; and I was waiting for 
you in order to be made holy. 

'Always you have, without knowing it, desired me; and always 
I have been drawing you to me. 

'And now I am established on you for life, or for death. You 
can never go back, never return to commonplace gratifications 
or untroubled worship. He who has once seen me can never 
forget me: he must either damn himself with me or save me with 

'Are you coming?' 



'O you who are divine and mighty, what is your name? 
Speak 9 

'I am the fire that consumes and the water that overthrows; I 
am the love that initiates and the truth that passes away. All that 
compels acceptance and all that brings renewal; all that breaks 
apart and all that binds together; power, experiment, progress - 
matter: all this am I. 

'Because in my violence I sometimes slay my lovers; because 
he who touches me never knows what power he is unleashing, 
wise men fear me and curse me. They speak of me with scorn, 
calling me beggar-woman or witch or harlot; but their words are 
at variance with life, and the pharisees who condemn me, waste 
away in the outlook to which they confine themselves; they die of 
inanition and their disciples desert them because I am the essence 
of all that is tangible, and men cannot do without me. 

'You who have grasped that the world - the world beloved 
of God - has, even more than individuals, a soul to be redeemed, 
lay your whole being wide open to my inspiration, and receive 
the spirit of the earth which is to be saved. 

'The supreme key to the enigma, the dazzling utterance which 
is inscribed on my brow and which henceforth will bum into 
your eyes even though you close them, is this: Nothing is precious 
save what is yourself in others and others in yourself. In heaven, all 
things are but one. In heaven all is one. 

'Come, do you not feel my breath uprooting you and carrying 
you away? Up, man of God, and make haste. For according to 
the way a man surrenders himself to it, the whirlwind will either 
drag him down into the darkness of its depths or lift him up into 
the blue skies. Your salvation and mine hang on this first moment. 9 

'O you who are matter: my heart, as you see, is trembling. 
Since it is you, tell me: what would you have me do ?' 

'Take up your arms, O Israel, and do battle boldly against me. 9 

The wind, having at first penetrated and pervaded him 
stealthily, like a philtre, had now become aggressive, hostile. 



From within its coils it exhaled now the acrid stench of battle. 

The musky smell of forests, the feverish atmosphere of cities, 
the sinister, heady scent that rises up from nations locked in 
battle: all this writhed within its folds, a vapour gathered from 
the four corners of the earth. 

The man, still prostrate, suddenly started, as though his flesh had 
felt the spur: he leapt to his feet and stood erect, facing the 

It was the soul of his entire race that had shuddered within him: 
an obscure memory of a first sudden awakening in the midst of 
beasts stronger, better-armed than he; a sad echo of the long 
struggle to tame the corn and to master the fire; a rancorous 
dread of the maleficent forces of nature, a lust for knowledge and 
possession . . . 

A moment ago, in the sweetness of the first contact, he had 
instinctively longed to lose himself in the warm wind which 
enfolded him. 

Now, this wave of bliss in which he had all but melted away 
was changed into a ruthless determination towards increased 

The man had scented the enemy, his hereditary quarry. 

He dug his feet into the ground, and began his battle. 

He fought first of all in order not to be swept away; but then 
he began to fight for the joy of fighting, the joy of feeling his own 
strength. And the longer he fought, the more he felt an increase of 
strength going out from him to balance the strength of the 
tempest, and from the tempest there came forth in return a new 
exhalation which flowed like fire into his veins. 

As on certain nights the sea around a swimmer will grow 
luminous, and its eddies will glisten the more brightly under the 
sturdy threshing of his limbs, so the dark power wrestling with 
the man was lit up with a thousand sparkling lights under the 
impact of his onslaught. 

In a reciprocal awakening of their opposed powers, he stirred 
up his utmost strength to achieve the mastery over it, while it 



revealed all its treasures in order to surrender them to him. 

'Son of earth, steep yourself in the sea of matter, bathe in its 
fiery waters, for it is the source of your life and your youthfulness. 

'You thought you could do without it because the power of 
thought has been kindled in you? You hoped that the more 
thoroughly you rejected the tangible, the closer you would be 
to spirit: that you would be more divine if you lived in the world 
of pure thought, or at least more angelic if you fled the corporeal ? 
Well, you were like to have perished of hunger. 

'You must have oil for your limbs, blood for your veins, water 
for your soul, the world of reality for your intellect: do you not 
see that the very law of your own nature makes these a necessity 
for you? 

'Never, if you work to live and to grow, never will you be 
able to say to matter, "I have seen enough of you; I have surveyed 
your mysteries and have taken from them enough food for my 
thought to last me for ever." I tell you: even though, like the 
Sage of sages, you carried in your memory the image of all the 
beings that people the earth or swim in the seas, still all that 
knowledge would be as nothing for your soul, for all abstract 
knowledge is only a faded reality: this is because to understand 
the world knowledge is not enough, you must see it, touch it, 
live in its presence and drink the vital heat of existence in the very 
heart of reality. 

'Never say, then, as some say: "The kingdom of matter is 
worn out, matter is dead": till the very end of time matter will 
always remain young, exuberant, sparkling, new-born for those 
who are willing. 

'Never say, "Matter is accursed, matter is evil": for there has 
come one who said, "You will drink poisonous draughts and 
they shall not harm you", and again, "Life shall spring forth out 
of death", and then finally, the words which spell my definitive 
liberation, "This is my body". 

'Purity does not lie in separation from, but in a deeper penetra- 
tion into the universe. It is to be found in the love of that unique, 



boundless Essence which penetrates the inmost depths of all 
things and there, from within those depths, deeper than the 
mortal zone where individuals and multitudes struggle, works 
upon them and moulds them. Purity lies in a chaste contact with 
that which is "the same in all". 

4 Oh, the beauty of spirit as it rises up adorned with all the riches 
of the earth! 

'Son of man, bathe yourself in the ocean of matter; plunge 
into it where it is deepest and most violent; struggle in its 
currents and drink of its waters. For it cradled you long ago in 
your preconscious existence; and it is that ocean that will raise 
you up to God/ 

Standing amidst the tempest, the man turned his head, looking 
for his companion. 

And in that same moment he perceived a strange metamor- 
phosis: the earth was simultaneously vanishing away yet growing 
in size. 

It was vanishing away, for here, immediately beneath him, the 
meaningless variations in the terrain were diminshing and 
dissolving; on the other hand it was growing ever greater, for 
there in the distance the curve of the horizon was climbing 
ceaselessly higher. 

The man saw himself standing in the centre of an immense cup, 
the rim of which was closing over him. 

And then the frenzy of battle gave place in his heart to an 
irresistible longing to submit: and in a flash he discovered, every- 
where present around him, the one thing necessary. 

Once and for all he understood that, like the atom, man has 
no value save for that part of himself which passes into the 
universe. He recognized with absolute certainty the empty 
fragility of even the noblest theorizings as compared with the 
definitive plenitude of the smallest Jarf grasped in its total, con- 
crete reality. 

He saw before his eyes, revealed with pitiless clarity, the 



ridiculous pretentiousness of human claims to order the life of the 
world, to impose on the world the dogmas, the standards, the 
conventions of man. 

He tasted, sickeningly, the triteness of men's joys and sorrows, 
the mean egoism of their pursuits, the insipidity of their passions, 
the attenuation of their power to feel. 

He felt pity for those who take fright at the span of a century or whose 
love is bounded by the frontiers of a nation. 

So many things which once had distressed or revolted him - the 
speeches and pronouncements of the learned, their assertions and 
their prohibitions, their refusal to allow the universe to move - all 
seemed to him now merely ridiculous, non-existent, compared 
with die majestic reality, the flood of energy, which now revealed 
itself to him: omnipresent, unalterable in its truth, relentless in its 
development, untouchable in its serenity, maternal and unfailing 
in its protectiveness, 

Thus at long last he had found a point d 9 appui f he had fotind 
refuge, outside the confines of human society. 

A heavy cloak slipped from his shoulders and fell to the ground 
behind him: the dead weight of all that is false, narrow, tyrannical, 
all that is artificially contrived, all that is merely human in humanity. 

A wave of triumph freed his soul. 

And he felt that henceforth nothing in the world would ever 
be able to alienate his heart from the greater reality which was 
now revealing itself to him, nothing at all: neither the intrusiveness 
and individualist separatism of human beings (for these* qualities 
in them he despised) nor the heavens and the earth in their height 
and breadth and depth and power (for it was precisely to these 
that he was now dedicating himself for ever). 

A deep process of renewal had taken place within him: now it 
would never again be possible for him to be human save on 
another plane. Were he to descend again now to the everyday life 
of earth - even though it were to rejoin his faithful companion, 
still prostrate over there on the desert sand - he would henceforth 
be for ever a stranger. 



Yes, of this he was certain: even for his brothers in God, better 
men than he, he would inevitably speak henceforth in an incom- 
prehensible tongue, he whom the Lord had drawn to follow the 
road of fire. Even for those he loved the most his love would be 
henceforth a burden, for they would sense his compulsion to be 
for ever seeking something behind themselves. 

Because matter, throwing off its veil of restless movement and 
multiplicity, had revealed to him its glorious unity, chaos now 
divided him from other men. Because it had for ever withdrawn 
his heart from all that is merely local or individual, all that is 
fragmentary, henceforth for him it alone in its totality would be 
his father and mother, his family, his race, his unique, consuming 

And not a soul in the world could do anything to change this. 

Turning his eyes resolutely away from what was receding from 
him, he surrendered himself, in superabounding faith, to the 
wind which was sweeping the universe onwards. 

And now in the heart of the whirling cloud a light was grow- 
ing, a light in which there was the tenderness and the mobility of 
a human glance; and from it there spread a warmth which was 
not now like the harsh heat radiating from a furnace but like the 
opulent warmth which emanates from a human body. What had 
been a blind and feral immensity was now becoming expressive 
and personal; and its hitherto amorphous expanses were being 
moulded into features of an ineffable face. 

A Being was taking form in the totality of space; a Being with 
the attractive power of a soul, palpable like a body, vast as the 
sky; a Being which mingled with things yet remained distinct 
from them; a Being of a higher order than the substance of things 
with which it was adorned, yet taking shape within them. 

The rising Sun was being born in the heart of the world. 

God was shining forth from the summit of that world of matter 
whose waves were carrying up to him the world of spirit. 

The man fell to his knees in the fiery chariot which was bearing 
him away. 



And he spoke these words: 


'Blessed be you, harsh matter, barren soil, stubborn rock: you 
who yield only to violence, you who force us to work if we would 

'Blessed be you, perilous matter, violent sea, untameable 
passion: you who unless we fetter you will devour us. 

'Blessed be you, mighty matter, irresistible march of evolution, 
reality ever new-born; you who, by constantly shattering our 
mental categories, force us to go ever further and further in our 
pursuit of the truth. 

'Blessed be you, universal matter, immeasurable time, boundless 
ether, triple abyss of stars and atoms and generations: you who 
by overflowing and dissolving our narrow standards or measure- 
ment reveal to us the dimensions of God. 

'Blessed be you, impenetrable matter: you who, interposed 
between our minds and the world of essences, cause us to 
languish with the desire to pierce through the seamless veil of 

'Blessed be you, mortal matter: you who one day will undergo 
the process of dissolution within us and will thereby take us 
forcibly into the very heart of that which exists. 

'Without you, without your onslaughts, without your up- 
rootings of us, we should remain all our lives inert, stagnant, 
puerile, ignorant both of ourselves and of God. You who batter 
us and then dress our wounds, you who resist us and yield to 
us, you who wreck and build, you who shackle and liberate, the 
sap of our souls, the hand of God, the flesh of Christ: it is you, 
matter, that I bless. 

'I bless you, matter, and you I acclaim: not as the pontiffs of 
science or the moralizing preachers depict you, debased, dis- 
figured -a mass of brute forces and base appetites - but as you 
reveal yourself to me today, in your totality and your true nature. 



'You I acclaim as the inexhaustible potentiality for existence 
and transformation wherein the predestined substance germinates 
and grows. 

*I acclaim you as the universal power which brings together 
and unites, through which the multitudinous monads are bound 
together and in which they all converge on the way of the Spirit. 

'I acclaim you as the melodious fountain 25 of water whence 
spring the souls of men and as the limpid crystal whereof is 
fashioned the new Jerusalem. 

"I acclaim you as the divine milieu, charged with creative 
power, as the ocean stirred by the Spirit, as the clay moulded 
and infused with life by the incarnate Word. 

'Sometimes, thinking they are responding to your irresistible 
appeal, men will hurl themselves for love of you into the exterior 
abyss of selfish pleasure-seeking: they are deceived by a reflection 
or by an echo. 

'This I now understand. 

'If we are ever to reach you, matter, we must, having first 
established contact with the totality of all that lives and moves 
here below, come little by little to feel that the individual shapes 
of all we have laid hold on are melting away in our hands, until 
finally we are at grips with the single essence of all consistencies and 
all unions. 

'If we are ever to possess you, having taken you rapturously in 
our arms, we must then go on to sublimate you through sorrow. 

'Your realm comprises those serene heights where saints think 
to avoid you - but where your flesh is so transparent and so agile 
as to be no longer distinguishable from spirit. 

'Raise me up then, matter, to those heights, through struggle 
and separation and death; raise me up until, at long last, it 
becomes possible for me in perfect chastity to embrace the 

Down below on the desert sands, now tranquil again, someone 
was weeping and calling out: 'My Father, my Father ! What wild 
wind can this be that has borne him away? 9 



And on the ground there lay a cloak. 
Jersey, 8 August 1919 

1. 'Incidentally, the Graham Greene title (The Heart of the Matter) would be wonderful 
for me (although with a quite different meaning) for an essay I am dreaming to write 
since some time under a name which occurs to my mind in English (untranslatable into 
French) : "The Golden Glow" (meaning the appearance of God from and in the "Heart 

\ . . the whole thing (the essay, The Heart ofMatter*) has to be woven with four (and 
not only three) threads, namely: Le Cosmique, UHumain* Le Christique and Le Feminin\ 
(Letters (in English) of 10 October 1948 and 12 August 1950, in Letters to Two Friends, 
London, 1970, pp. 190, 212. (Ed's note.) 

2. This is what I wrote as early as 1917 in one of my first essays (called 'My Universe*, 
written in the thick of the fighting) about the same subject: 

'Ever since my childhood, the need wholly to possess some 'absolute* was the axis of 
my entire inner life. I can now remember quite clearly that amid all my youthful pleasures 
I found happiness only in relation to a fundamental joy: and that mostly consisted in the 
possession (or the thought) of some more precious object, more permanent, less corrupt- 
ible. Sometimes it would be a piece of metal - and another time I would jump to the 
other extreme and take delight in the thought of God-Spirit (at that age the Hesh of Christ 
seemed to me to be something too fragile and subject to corruption). 

This predilection will seem curious, but I can assure you that it was with me «w- 
Hnuously. From those very first days I had an irresistible (and at the same time vitalizing 
and soothing) need to rest continuously in Some Thing that was tangible and definite; and 
I looked everywhere for this beatifying Object 

The story of my inner life is the story of this search, directed towards ever more 
universal and more perfect realities. Fundamentally, my natural underlying purpose has 
been unwavering, ever since I can remember what I was like.' 

3. 'I am doing my best, just now, to recapture and to express my feelings, as a child, 
toward what I have called, later on, la sainte Matibe. A rather delicate and critical point, 
since it is unquestionably out of these early contacts with the "essence" of the World that 
my whole internal life has sprung and grown. In this case, at least, nobody can say thatlam 
intruding on the grounds of philosophy or theology - a personal psychological experience: 
nothing more, but also nothing less.' (Letter (in English) of 18 August 1950, in Letters to 
Two Friends, London, 1970, p. 214.). 'Yes, on the whole I was glad to revisit Sarcenat 
yesterday. But the two main things I brought back from this driving in the past were (a) 
the confirmation that the psychological analysis (such as I have sketched it these days in 
my essay) of my mystical trends (when I was a child) is correct; and (b) the final evidence 
that an entire previous circle of myself is completely dead (because the wave is by now 
much deeper inside).' (Letter (in English) of 22 August 1950, ibid, p. 215) (Ed/s note.) 

4. If nothing better were available, I preferred Coleoptera to butterflies: the latter were 
too delicate - and the more robust the former and the hornier, the more attractive I found 

5. Moreover, since this lacked 'convergence* (c£ above, Section II) this did not give me 
what I wanted. 

6. And here (I mean in the idiom I use) we meet again my irrepressible urge to 
universalize whatever I love. 



7. Not until 1935 does the word Man appear in the brief Credo I used as an Epigraph to 
'How I Believe', even though that essay itself rests its argument explicitly on the 
Phenomenon of Man. Today I would say: 

*. . . I believe that Evolution proceeds towards Spirit. 

I believe that in Man, Spirit is fully realized in Person.' It is only an added touch, but it 
allows us to emerge unequivocally from metaphysics and move into the historical, the 
biological - the planetary. 

8. I can still see myself- 'experience' myself- (I might have been about five or six) by 
some fireplace, noticing, with a dismay that had repercussions on my devotion to k petit 
Jesus, the nasty smell ofburning as a lock of hair fell into the flames. 

9. Edouard Le Roy was so good as to devote considerable time in his lectures at the 
College de France ('The idealist demand and the fact of evolution') to this first essay of mine 
on the Phenomenon of Man - thus lending his authority to the word 'Noosphere', which 
has since gained wide acceptance. 

(The reference is to 'Hominization', an essay written in Paris in May 1925. It is included 
in The Vision of the Past, 1966, pp. SI-79-) (Ed's note.) 

10. On the scale of the cell, the body of the metazoon ceases to be perceptible; and so 
the molecule on the scale of the atom. 

11. Though I am quite sure that, like the cosmic sense and simultaneously with it, it will 
rapidly become general in the make-up of future generations. 

12. This awakening is unmistakably apparent in a rather over-tree fantasy, entitled 'La 
Grande Monade', which was written in the trenches, about 1917: the full moon emerging 
over the barbed wire - symbol and image of the thinking Earth: and more clearly still in 
the last paragraph (omitted by the editors) of 'La Nostalgie du Front 9 , in Etudes, 20 
November 1917. See below, pp. 167-95. 

13. From below to above - even though under the active influence of 'above 9 . 

14. Somewhat as, in atomic physics, no micro-molecule can be conceived as at rest and 
without its wave (the greater the mass of the molecule, the greater is its penetrative 
power) - so, we might say in terms of physical biology, no mega-molecule can exist 
without a psychism (and the more complex the molecule in question, the higher is the 

15. 'Union (biological union) does not identify; but it differentiates the simple living 
organism, and personalizes the Reflective upon itself' It is therefore an organic heresy to 
consider the totalized Reflective as forming a single 'soul*. It is not a single soul, but a soul 
that super-animates all the assembled souls. 

16. More or less stimulated and fed by the influence of the Feminine (c£ Conclusion, 

17. 1 tried to express this in the first of my Three stories in the style of Benson', written 
in 1916, between two attacks at Verdun. (See above, pp. 61-7.) 

18. And more generally, I am convinced, in the inmost depths of every modern soul. 

19. This was the well-known Pere Paul Troussard - see Robert Speaight, Teilhard de 
Chardin, p. 31. (Translator's note.) 

20. On this spiritual 'power' and 'stimulus' to be found in Matter, seeLe Milieu Divin - 
and also the characteristic essay (on 'the cloak of Elijah') which was written in Jersey, in 
1919, just after the war. (C£ ITbe Spiritual Power of Matter*, in Hymn of the Universe, pp. 
59-71 ; also above pp. 67-76.) 

21. The censors who were asked in 1948 to give their views on this essay by Pere 
Teilhard, held that this passage was incompatible with orthodoxy. Pere Teilhard agreed to 
replace the words completion and achlvement (translated here as 'completion' and 'fulfil- 
ment') by satisfaction. Shortly afterwards, however, when he was turning this over in hit 



mind, he told us: 'All the same, the Universe is, for God, much more than a satisfying 
product fan produit de satisfaction). 9 

A passage by Cardinal de Berulle, which we read after Teilhard's death, should make it 
clear that it was the latter who was in the right. This is what de Berulle, called by Urban 
VIII 'the Apostle of the Incarnate Word' has to say: 

'(God) the Father, who is the fontal source of the Godhead . . . produces two divine 
Persons in himself. And the Son, who is the second producing Person in the Godhead, 
concludes his productiveness in a single divine Person. And this third Person, who does not 
produce anything eternal and uncreated, produces the incarnate Word. And this incarnate 
Word . . . produces the order of grace and of glory which ends ... in making us Gods by 
anticipation . . . This completes God's communication in himself and outside himself' (Les 
Grandeurs dejisus, 1623.) 

Thus, since the God-Man represents the fecundity of the Holy Spirit, and since the 
incarnation of the Word is linked to the creation of an evolutive universe, we may 
legitimately conclude that the universe is indeed 'a mysterious product of completion 
and fulfilment for the Absolute Being himself*. (Ed.'s note.) 

22. 'Finally, I think that the Ftminin will be presented and discussed as a kind of 
Conclusion or Envoi: not so much as an element by itself, than as a kind of light illuminat- 
ing the process of universal concentration: vraiment, in tact, as I wrote you, "the spirit of 
Union".' (Letter in English from Pere Teilhard, 14 August 1950, in Letters to Two Friends, 
p. 213.) (Ed.'s note.) 

23. That Pere Teilhard himself added as an appendix to his autobiography the story of 
his first mystical experiences, shows that he wished the illumination he had then attained 
to extend to what he had written. 

If we are to understand the The Feminine at the high level at which he had been living 
since 1919, we must appreciate the full force of the following passage from The Spiritual 
Power of Matter: 

'A profound re-formation had just been effected in him, of such a nature that it was 
now no longer possible for him to be Man except on another plane. 

'His affection would be a burden, even for those he loved most, for they would feel 
that he was always, with invincible determination, looking for something behind them.' 

With the 'conclusion' printed here, we should compare The Eternal Feminine* 
{Writings in Time of War, pp. 191-202). 

At the end of his life, Pere Teilhard assured us again of his unshakeable fidelity to the 
solemn vow of chastity he took when he was professed as a religious in 191 8. 'I do not 
remember,' he added, 'that this fidelity cost me any struggles. It is only Christ whom I can 
love.' It is, then, the 'spiritual power* of the Feminine, and the spiritual power alone, of 
which he is writing here. (Ed.'s note.) 

24. Hymn of the Universe, pp. 41-55. 

25. When Pere Teilhard re-read the 'Hymn to Matter* in my presence, he told me, 
after some thought, that he preferred source (translated here and in Hymn of the Universe, 

" p. 68, as 'fountain') to somme. (Note by J.M.) 



Introduction: The Amorization of the Universe 

A. The Convergence of die Universe 

B. The Emergence of Christ 

C. The Christified Universe 

1. The Consummation of the Universe by Christ 

2. The Consummation of Christ by the Universe 

3. The Divine Milieu 

D. The Religion of Tomorrow 
Conclusion: The Promised Land 

Even before P&re Teilhard had finished The Heart of Matter, he was 
turning over in his mind his last work. Of this he wrote (in a letter to 
J. Mortier, 19 August 1950) : '. . . this extraordinary Christie - 1 want 
to live long enough to have time to express it more or less as I now 
see it taking shape, with an ever-increasing sense of wonder/ 

And we read, in his Retreat Notes dated the 29 September of the 
same year, "Jesus my God, once again the same prayer, die most ardent, 
the most humble prayer : Make me end well . . . end well - that is, let me 
have had time and opportunity to express my Essential Message, the 
Essence of my Message/ 

During the Spring of the second year of his exile in New York, 
P£re Teilhard writes: 'The first thing I shall write "for myself " (and 
for close friends) will perhaps be a study of "the Christosphere" - or 
the Christie (the Christie Point, Milieu and Energy), which brings me 
back more or less to the "Divine Milieu"/ (To J.M., 30 April 1952.) 

He returns to his project in 1954: 'Meanwhile I am thinking more and 
more about writing something "confidential" about the Christie: a 
sort of quintessence of Le Milieu Divin, "The Mass on the World" and 
"TheHeart of Matter". An evocation of the massive psychological "inte- 
gration" (to use the modern term) that cdn be effected (and is even now 
inevitably being effected) by the coming together of thepleromizing- 



Christ of Revelation and the convergent Evolutive of Science. The 
whole Universe which is being amorized, from the infinitesimal to the 
immense over all Duration . . .' (To J.M., 22 September 1954). 

Finally, two months before his death, he began to put on paper the 
essay which had been maturing for five years: 'I am really getting 
down to the Christie, though I am not quite sure what the general 
tone of the piece will be or how it will work out (between Le Milieu 
Divin, 'The Mass on the World* and 'The Heart of Matter'). Pray that 
I may make as good a job of it as possible - that his "kingdom" may 
come*. (To J.M., 9 February 1955.) 




What follows is not a mere speculative dissertation in which the 
main lines of some long-matured and cleverly constructed system 
are set out 

It constitutes die evidence brought to bear, with complete 
objectivity, upon a particular interior event, upon a particular 
personal experience, in which I cannot but distinguish die track 
followed by a general drift of the Human as it folds in upon itself 

During die course of my life there has gradually been aroused 
in me, until it has become habitual, the capacity to see two 
fundamental psychic movements or currents in which we all 
share, without, however, being sufficiently aware of what they 

On one side, there has been die irresistible convergence of my 
individual thought with every other thinking being on die Earth - 
and in consequence with everything that is going through a 
gradual process of 'arrangement 9 , wherever it be, and to what- 
ever degree, in die immensities of Time and Space. 

And on the other side, there has been the persistent individual* 
ization, at die centre of my own small ego 9 of an ultra-Centre of 
Thought and Action: in die depths of my consciousness, die rise, 
which nothing can stop, of a sort of Other who could be even 
more I than I am myself 

On one side there was a flux, at once physical and psychic, which 
made the Totality of the Stuff of Things fold in on itself by 
giving it complexity: carrying this to die point where that Stuff 
is made to co-reflect itself 

And on die other side, under the species of an incarnate divine 
being, a Presence so intimate that it could not satisfy itself or 
satisfy me, without being by nature universal 

This was die double perception, intellectual and emotional, 
of a Cosmic Convergence and a Christie Emergence which, each in 
its own way, filled my whole horizon. 



Although they both made themselves felt in the very core of 
my being, it is conceivable that these two new tides of conscious- 
ness might have had no effect upon one another - for they 
reached me from different angles. 

But it was not so; and it is precisely this contrary experience 
that I hope to describe in this essay, for the delight of my life and 
all that gives it strength will have been my discovery that when 
these two spiritual ingredients were brought together, they 
reacted endlessly upon one another in a flash of extraordinary 
brilliance, releasing by their implosion a light so intense that it 
transfigured (or even "transubstantiated 9 ) for me the very depths 
of the World. 

I saw how the joint coming of age of Revelation and Science 
had suddenly opened a door for twentieth-century Man into a 
sort of ultra-dimension of Things, in which all differences 
between Action, Passion [in the sense of being acted upon] and 
Communion vanish - not by being neutralized but by reaching 
an explosive climax: and this at die high temperatures of the 
Centre and on the scale of the Whole. 

I saw the Universe becoming amorized and personalized in 
the very dynamism of its own evolution. 

It is already a long time since, in response to these new ways of 
seeing things, still barely defined in my mind, I tried, in The Mass 
on the World andli Milieu Divin, to give distinct expression to my 
sense of wonder and amazement 

Today, after forty years of continuous thought, 1 it is still 
exacdy the same fundamental vision that I feel I must present, 
and enable others to share in its matured form - for the last 

It may not be expressed with the same freshness and exuber- 
ance as resulted from my first meeting with it - but the wonder 
and the passion will still be there, undimmed. 



Whether we admit it or not, we have today no choice: we 
have all become 'evolutionists'. Through the narrow Darwinian 
crack opened a century ago in zoology, the feeling of Duration 
has now so completely and permanently coloured the whole of 
our experience that we have to make an effort, for example, 
to get back to those not so distant days (about 1900!) when the 
formation of species was still a matter for bitter argument, and 
we had not the vaguest suspicion that fifty years later the whole 
economy of mankind would be based on the birth of the Atom. 

Today, of course, we all inevitably think and act as if the World 
were in a state of continual formation and transformation. 

This is far from meaning, however, that this general frame of 
mind has yet reached its final and complete expression in our 

At a first stage, and that the vaguest, to evolve can mean to 
change, irrespective of the nature and modalities of the changing: 
they may be irregular or methodical, continuous or periodical, 
additive or dispersive and so on. 

At this elementary level, we may say that so far as Physics and 
Biology are concerned there is no longer any uncertainty. The 
movement that animates the Stuff of the Universe in and around 
us, is no mere agitation and no mere drifting into the homo- 

It presents itself to our experience as a distinctly recognizable 
process - or, more correctly, as the product of two processes - 
which is by nature subject to direction. 

1. First there is the process of 'arrangement' which, through the 
gradual 'corpusculizing* of cosmic Energy, produces the infinite 
variety (ever more complex and ever more 'psychized') of atoms, 
molecules, living cells, etc. 

2. Secondly, there is the process of 'dis-arrangement* (Entropy), 
which is constantly bringing arranged Energy back to its most 
probable, and therefore most simple, forms. 



We may say that competent observers today are in agreement 
about die general picture of an Evolution which may be com- 
pared, broadly speaking, to a river made up of amorphous 
streams (Entropy) within which countless eddies are individual- 
ized by a counter-current 'Phenomenally' speaking, we see die 
World not merely as a system that is simply in movement, but 
as one that is in a state of genesis - a very different matter. Across 
the metamorphoses of Matter something is being made (and at 
die same time being unmade) in accordance with a particular 
global orientation - and this irreversibly and cumulatively. 

Once we understand that, a further problem - not to say die 
final problem - presents itself 

In the case of die river we have just used as a comparison, what 
is most permanent and most important is, of course, the main 
stream - and not the eddies that come and go in the general mass 
of moving water. In Cosmogenesis, on the other hand, how are 
we to decide the relative value of the two confronting terms? Is 
(as might well at first appear) that majestic and inflexible Entropy 
really what counts' in Evolution? In other words, is it Entropy 
that has the last word cosmically ? Or (in spite of certain apparent 
indications of fragility) is it rather the ever more complex and 
ever more centred nuclei that are successively formed in die 
course of planetary ages? To put it in another way, does the 
Universe ultimately come to rest upon itself in equilibrium in 
the direction of die non-arranged-unconscious (which is the 
materialist solution), or in the direction of the Arranged- 
conscious (which is die spiritual solution) ? 

Vital though this problem is for us - for it bears on real values 
and our real future - Science as yet refuses to make up its mind, 
opinions are divided. We are constantly being told that it is a 
matter which cannot be solved experimentally: die answer must 
be left to the philosophers or dictated by personal feeling. 

I cannot emphasize too strongly that die problem is, on the 
contrary, soluble by the techniques we command provided our 
eyes are opened to the bio-cosmic significance of a phenomenon 




which is at die same time so enormous and so close to us that in 
the end we are completely swamped by it and entirely fail to see 
it. And the Phenomenon I refer to is that of human co-reflectiotu 

Because we are born and live in the very heart of this thing 
that is happening, we still find it quite natural not only to dunk 
with ourselves but also, inevitably, to think with all other 
persons at die same time: in other words, we cannot move a 
finger without finding ourselves involved in the construction of 
a total human act that includes what we see and what we make. 

We must try a different approach, first retracing our steps 
sufficiently, and so re-introduce into our general picture of the 
World the process of i co-consrientizing , in which we share. 

Once we do that, a perfectly clear (and strangely emancipating) 
indication emerges from the facts: that beneath the apparent 
commonplace superficiality of the Earth's technico-social 
disposition, it is Evolution itself - in that aspect of it which is 
orientated towards the Improbable - that is extending itself with 
increasing speed beyond our own insignificant individual centres 
in the direction of a Complexity-Consciousness of planetary 

The discovery of this simple fact is of decisive importance for 
both our understanding and our will. 

Among those who theorize about Biogenesis, there are still 
many who speak as though the cosmic (anti-entropic) drift into 
Arrangement ultimately found expression in a diversifying and 
dispersing expansion of living forms. If the fact of terrestrial co- 
reflection is correctly interpreted, however, we see that when this 
drift has fully developed it inevitably takes on the form of a 
centration of the hominized portion of the Stuff of Things, which 
at the same time differentiates and fosters a common unanimous 
mind and spirit 

Experientialiy, if the Universe is examined in its most advanced 
areas, in the direction of the Improbable, it is seen that it converges 
upon itself. 

To my mind, it is impossible to be fully an evolutionist in die 



true sense of the word without seeing and admitting this "psycho- 
genic 9 concentration of the World upon itself. 

And it is equally impossible, I may add, to arrive at an under- 
standing of such a 'centripetal 9 form of cosmogenesis without 
being obliged to recognize and accept as a fact (for a number of 
reasons, as much physical as psychological 8 ) that the Universe 
simultaneously takes on consistence and value in the direction, 
inevitably, in which it folds in upon itself- and not in the opposite 
direction. It is thus that a universal Flux, both unifying and 
irreversifying, appears and asserts its power; it transfigures the 
World that it illuminates, warms and consolidates - and we, too, 
are swept along in that Flux. 

This is the higher dynamism, that controls and superannuates 
all the other dynamisms from within. 

It provides, in fact, the neo-milieu of vision and action, for 
lack of which we might well fear that Anthropogenesis will lose 
its vigour and so wither: but within which, on the other hand, 
we can see that there is no further forward limit to die forces of 


I have tried in the preceding section to bring home how com- 
pletely the shape of the World is transformed as soon as we make 
up our minds to allow the Human Phenomenon of Co-Reflection 
to find in it its full expression and its true place. 

If we now look in an apparently completely different direction, 
i£ that is, we move from the physical grounding of knowledge 
to its mystical plane, we may well consider a further point: let us 
see whether, perhaps, a metamorphosis of the same order 
(symmetrical - or even complementary) is not found to be 
operative in our intellectual and emotional outlook on the 
Universe, if we examine more attentively the Christian Phenom- 
enon of Worship. 

The Christian Phenomenon . . . 




As a result of the progressive extension of the realm of Science 
by the study of comparative religion, this great event (which for 
nearly two thousand years has been universally regarded in the 
West as unique in world-history) might at first appear to be now 
passing through an eclipse, in the same way as did Man's appear* 
ance in Nature during the Quaternary age, when Darwinism 
first came on the scene. "Christianity: a remarkable sort of 
religion, of course: but only one among many, and for only a 
particular period of time/ That is what the vast majority of 
'intelligent' persons say to themselves, and openly proclaim, more 
or less explicitly. 

In the case of Man, all that was needed to restore the Human 
to its primacy - no longer at the centre, but now at the head of 
things - was the gradual entry into our world-view of the place 
and evolutive function of Reflection. In just the same way, it 
seems to me, Christianity is far from losing its primacy in the 
vast religious medley let loose by the totalization of the modern 
world; on the contrary it is regaining and consolidating its axial, 
directive, place as the spear-head of human psychic energies - so 
long, that is, as we allow sufficient weight to its extraordinary and 
effectively significant power of 'pan-amorization'. 

Christian love - Christian charity. 

I know very well, from my experience, the reaction - some- 
times kindly, and sometimes of ill-natured incredulity - that is 
generally aroused when those terms are used in front of non- 
Christians. "Surely, 9 is the objection we hear, "there is a psycho- 
logical absurdity in loving God and loving the World? How, in 
fact, can we love the Intangible and the Universal ? Further, in so 
far as a love of all and of the All can, more or less metaphorically, 
be said to be possible, is not that inner gesture already familiar 
to the Hindu Bakti, to the Persian Babis - and to any number of 
others. No, it is far from being specifically Christian/ 

And yet, are not the facts there, staring us in the face, to prove 
to us the contrary, to prove it concretely, almost brutally? 

On the one hand, whatever may be said, a love (a true love) of 



God is perfectly possible; for, if it were not, all the monasteries 
and churches in the world would be emptied overnight, and 
Christianity, in spite of its framework of ritual and teaching and 
hierarchical order, would inevitably collapse into nothingness. 

And on the other hand, this love has in Christianity something 
stronger than it has anywhere else. Were this not so, all the virtues 
and all the charms of the tenderness we find in the gospels could 
not have prevented the teaching of the Beatitudes and of the Cross 
from long ago having made way for some more assertive Creed - 
and more particularly for some humanism or 'terrenism'. 

Whatever may be the merits of other religions, and whatever 
the explanation that may be given, it is indisputable that the most 
ardent collective focus of love ever to appear in the World is 
glowing hie et nunc at the heart of the Church of God. 

The facts tell us that no religious Faith releases - or ever has 
released at any moment in History - a higher degree of warmth, 
a more intense dynamism of unification than the Christianity of 
, our own day - and the more Catholic it is, the truer my words. 
And logic tells us that it is perfectly natural that that should be so; 
for in no other Creed, present or past, can be found so miracu- 
lously and effectively associated in their power to attract and 
captivate us, the three following characteristics of the incarnate 
Christian God: 

1. Tangibility in the experiential order, as the result of Christ 
Jesus's historical entry (by his birth) into the very process of 

2. Expansibility in the cosmic order, conferred on the Christie 
Centre by the operative power of 'resurrection*. 

3. And finally, assimilative power, in the organic order, 
potentially integrating the totality of the human race in the unity 
of a single *body\ 

It is easy enough to bring abstract criticisms against this 
apparently illogical mixture of primitive 'anthropomorphism', 
mythical marvel and gnostic extravagance. But the remarkable 
fact remains - let me emphasize this - that, however strange the 



combination of the three factors may appear, it holds good - it 
works -and that you have only to diminish the reality (or even 
the realism) of a single one of the three confronting components 
for the flame of Christianity to be immediately extinguished. 

When all is said and done, what constitutes die impregnable 
superiority of Christianity over all other types of Faith, is that it is 
ever more consciously identified with a Christogenesis, in other 
words with an awareness of the rise of a certain universal Presence 
which is at once immortalizing and unifying. 

Here we have the exact counterpart of what was earlier dis- 
closed to us (but in terms of 'Flux') by a full analysis of the 
Phenomenon of Man. 

In the second case, the Christian, we reach an expanding 
Centre which is trying to find itself a sphere. 

In the former, die Human, we reach a sphere that is extending 
deeper and deeper, and needs a centre. 

Could so remarkable a complementarity be no more than a 
coincidence - or an illusion? 


First, we are aware of being contained in a World whose two 
halves (the physical and the mystical) are slowly closing in with 
planetary force upon a Mankind that is bom of their approach to 
one another. And then we realize that we are moving into a 
hyper-milieu of Life, produced by the coincidence of an emergent 
Christ and a convergent Universe. 

Here we touch the very heart of the experience I am trying to 
describe, from what I know myself, in this essay. 

My description will be more forceful if I can put things in their 
proper order. Let us, then, look in turn at die following: 

First, the way in which, as the process develops, the Universe 
and Christ - one on one side and the other on the other side - 
find fulfilment in their conjunction. 

And secondly, how from that very conjunction a third Thing 



appears (a universal Element, a universal Milieu, and a universal 
Countenance: all three at the same time). And how in that third 
Thing the most familiar categories of our activity and our under- 
standing cease to conflict with one another and yet at the same 
time attain their fullest expression. 

l. The Consummation of the Universe by Christ 

Writing with full sincerity, I have already (in Section i) noted and 
extolled the reality and spiritualizing value of the new form of 
cosmic sense 9 aroused in modern Man by the evidence that 
Science provides of his belonging to a convergent-type Universe. 

I know as well as anyone, from my own experience, to what a 
degree this 'sense of evolution 9 (or 'sense of man 9 ) can simul- 
taneously fill one's mind, strengthen and exalt one. And I am 
therefore completely convinced that the great spiritual edifices 
of tomorrow can be constructed (and will in fact be constructed) 
only if we start from this new element and use it as our foundation. 

For a number of important reasons, however, I am still doubtful 
whether, left to itself, our consciousness (however intense it may 
be in each one of us) of sharing in a planetary Flux of co-reflection 
is capable of building up the sort of religion that has been foretold 
with such warmth and brilliance by my friend Julian Huxley: to 
which he has given the name of "evolutionary humanism 9 . 

Let me explain why I say this: either of two things may con- 
vince us that a higher Pole of completion and consolidation 
(which we may call Omega) awaits us at the higher term of 
Hominization; those two are the specific curve followed by the 
cosmic milieu in which we are involved, and the absolute 
necessity of being irreversible which is inherent in our reflective 
Action. Nevertheless, however strongly convinced we may be of 
die existence of this Omega Pole, we can never in the end reach it 
except by extrapolation: it remains by nature conjectural, it 
remains a postulate. 

There is the further reason that even if Omega is accepted as 



"guaranteed in its future existence', our hopes can envisage its 
features only in a vague and misty way; in our picture of it the 
Collective and Potential are dangerously mixed up with the 
Personal and Real. 

What, on the other hand, do we find if our minds can embrace 
simultaneously both contemporary neo-Christianity and con- 
temporary neo-Humanism, and so first suspect and then accept 
as proved that the Christ of Revelation is none other than the Omega 
of Evolution} 

Forthwith, we both see with our minds and feel with our hearts 
that die experiential Universe is once and for all activized and 

On the one hand, we can indeed begin to distinguish above us 
the positive gleam of a way out at the highest point of the future. 
There is no longer any danger of our suffocating, for we are in a 
World whose peak certainly opens out in Christofesu. 

And on the other, what comes down to us from those heights 
is not merely air for our lungs; it is the radiance of a love. The 
World, therefore, is not simply a place in which a Life can breathe 
because its power to look into the future has been aroused; we 
can now see its evolutive summit and so feel its absorbing mag- 
netic attraction. 

Speaking in terms of energy, we have to recognize that Christ 
intervenes today at exactly the right moment not only to save 
Man from revolt against Life, justifiably prompted by the mere 
threat, the mere suspicion, of a total death - but also to give him 
that most forceful stimulus without which, it would appear, 
Thought cannot attain the planetary term of its Reflection. 

It is Christ, in very truth, who saves, 

- but should we not immediately add that at the same time it is 
Christ who is saved by 




2. The Consummation of Christ by the Universe 

Christian tradition is unanimous that there is more in the total 
Christ than Man and God. There is also He who, in his 'theandric' 
being, gathers up the whole of Creation: in quo omnia constant. 

Hitherto, and in spite of the dominant position accorded to it 
by St Paul in his view of the World, this third aspect or function - 
we might even say, in a true sense of the words, this third 'nature 9 
of Christ (neither human nor divine, but cosmic) - has not 
noticeably attracted the explicit attention of the faithful or of 

Things have changed today: we now see how the Universe, 
along all the lines known to us experientially, is beginning to 
grow to fantastic dimensions, so that the time has come for 
Christianity to develop a precise consciousness of all the hopes 
stimulated by the dogma of the Universality of Christ when it is 
enlarged to this new scale, and of all the difficulties, too, that it 

Hopes, of course: because, if the World is becoming so daunt- 
ingly vast and powerful, it must follow that Christ is very much 
greater even than we used to think. 

But difficulties, too: because, in a word, how can we conceive 
that Christ 'is immensified' to meet the demands of our new 
Space-Time, without thereby losing his personality - that side 
of him that calls for our worship - and without in some way 

It is precisely here that in a flash there comes into the picture the 
astounding, emancipating, harmony between a religion that is 
Christie, and an Evolution that is convergent, in type. 

Were the World a static Cosmos - or if, again, it formed a 
divergent system - the only relations we could invoke as a basis 
for Christ's Primacy over Creation would be (make no mistake 
about this) by nature conceptual and juridical. He would be 
Christ the king of all things because he has been proclaimed to be 
such - and not because any organic relationship of dependence 



exists (or could even conceivably exist) between Him and a 
Multiplicity that is fundamentally irreducible. 

From such an 'extrinsical' point of view, one could hardly, with 
any honesty, speak of a Christie < cosmicity\ 

But i£ on die other hand, and as the facts make certain, the 
Universe - our Universe? - does indeed form a sort of biological 
Vortex 9 dynamically centred upon itself, then we cannot fail to 
see the emergence at die system's temporo-spatial peak, of a 
unique and unparalleled position, where Christ, effortlessly and 
without distortion, becomes literally and with unprecedented 
realism, the Pantocrator. 

Starting from an evolutive Omega at which we assume Christ 
to stand, not only does it become possible to conceive Christ 
as radiating physically over the terrifying totality of things but, 
what is more, that radiation must inevitably work up to a 
maximum of penetrative and activating power. 

Once he has been raised to the position of Prime Mover of the 
evolutive movement of complexity-consciousness, the cosmic- 
Christ becomes cosmically possible. And at the same time, ipso 
facto, he acquires and develops in complete plenitude, a veritable 
omnipresence of transformation. For each one of us, every energy and 
everything that happens, is superannuated by his influence and 
his magnetic power. To sum up, Cosmogenesis reveals itself 
along the line of its main axis, first as Biogenesis and then 
Noogenesis, and finally culminates in the Christogenesis which 
every Christian venerates. 

And then there appears to the dazzled eyes of the believer die 
eucharistic mystery itself extended infinitely into a veritable 
universal transubstantiation, in which die words of the Consecra- 
tion are applied not only to the sacrificial bread and wine but, 
mark you, to the whole mass of joys and sufferings produced by 
the Convergence of the World as it progresses. 4 

And it is then, too, that there follow in consequence die 
possibilities of a universal Communion. 



3. The Divine Milieu 

Hitherto Man had tried only two roads in his efforts to unite 
himself to the Divine. The first was to escape from the World 
into the 'beyond 9 . The second, on the other hand, was to allow 
himself to dissolve into things and so be united with them 
monistically. What else, in fact, could man try in a cosmic 
economy if he wished to escape from the internal and external 
multiplicity that was tormenting him ? 

By contrast, from the moment when the Universe, through 
Cosmogenesis directed upon a Christie Omega, assumes for us 
the shape of a truly convergent whole, a third and completely 
new road opens up by which the mystic 9 may arrive at total 
unity. And (since die whole Sphere of the World is precisely a 
Centre in process of centration upon itself) that road is to give all 
one's strength and all one's heart to coinciding with the Focus of 
universal unification, as yet diffuse but nevertheless already in 

With the Christified Universe (or, which comes to the same 
thing, with the universalized Christ) an evolutive super* 
milieu appears - which I have called 'the Divine Milieu 9 - and 
it is now essential that every man should fully understand the 
specific properties (or 'charter) of that milieu, which are them- 
selves linked with the emergence of completely new psychic 

All that I have just been saying leads up to this, that what 
basically characterizes the Divine Milieu is that it constitutes a 
dynamic reality in which all opposition between Universal and 
Personal is being wiped out, but not by any confusion of the two: 
the multiple 'reflected 9 elements of the World attaining their 
fulfilment, each one still within its own infinitesimal ego, by 
integrant accession to the Christie Ego, towards which the totality 
of Participated Being gravitates; and in so doing, the Participated, 
in consummating itself, consummates thztEgo too. 

By virtue of this total inter-linking of convergence, no elemen- 



tary ego can move closer to the Christie Centre without causing 
the entire global sphere to be compressed more tightly; similarly, 
the Christie Centre cannot even begin to communicate itself 
more fully to the least of the World's elements, without causing 
itself to be contained more strictly within the entire integument of 
concrete realities. 

Whether rising or descending, every operation (because of the 
very curvature of the particular 'space 9 within which it finds 
completion) is ultimately pan-humanizing and pan-Christifying 
at the same time. 

So true is this, that to the 'informed eye 9 all opposition is 
blurred between attachment and detachment, between action and 
prayer, between centration upon self and excentration upon the 

And this because God can in future be experienced and 
apprehended (and can even, in a true sense, be completed) by the 
whole ambient totality of what we call Evolution - in Christo 
Jesu ... 

This is still, of course, Christianity and always will be, but a 
Christianity re-incarnated for the second time (Christianity, we 
might say, squared) in the spiritual energies of Matter. It is pre- 
cisely the 'ultra-Christianity 9 we need here and now to meet 
the ever more urgent demands of the 'ultra-human 9 . 


Although we are not as alive to it as we should be, the key 
question that is beginning to present itself to Mankind in process 
of planetary arrangement is a problem of spiritual activation. In 
our recent mastery of the Atomic we have reached the primordial 
sources of the Energy of Evolution. This decisive victory cannot be 
carried to its conclusion unless, to match it at the other pole of 
things, we find a way to increase the Drive of Evolution to an equal 
degree within the Noosphere. New powers call for new aspira- 
tions. If Mankind is to use its new access of physical power with 



balanced control, it cannot do without a rebound of intensity 
in its eagerness to act, to seek, to create. 

For a reflective being, such an eagerness for self-fulfilment can 
fundamentally be found only in the expectation of a supreme 
Summit of consciousness which can be attained, and so provide a 
permanent home. 

And such a hope-inspired faith in some future consummation 
cannot, in turn, take any form but that of a 'religion in the truest, 
and most psychologically apt, meaning of the word 

A Religion of Evolution: that, when all is said and done, is 
what Man needs ever more explicitly if he is to survive and 
'super-live 9 , as soon as he becomes conscious of his power to 
ultra-hominize himself and of his duty to do so. 

4 In a system ofcosmo-noo-genesis, the comparative value of religious 
creeds may be measured by their respective power of evolutive active 

If we use this criterion, where, among the various currents of 
modern thought, can we hope to find, if not die fullness at least 
the germ, of what (judging by its power to ultra-hominize) may 
be regarded as the Religion of tomorrow ? 

In this order of ideas, we immediately meet a fact which 
it is impossible to reject. It is this: the sort of Faith that is needed, 
in terms of energy, for the correct functioning of a totalized 
human world has not yet been satisfactorily formulated in any 
quarter at all - neither among the religions of the Ahead (Marxist 
and other Humanisms) nor among the religions of the Above (the 
various theisms and pantheisms). 

When I say ^ neither among the religions of the Ahead?, I speak 
advisedly. It may be because they are nervous of admitting the 
reality of a biological convergence of Mankind upon itself and the 
consequences that this entails; or it may be because they persist 
in seeing in the evolutive rise of the Psychic no more than an 
ephemeral epi-phenomenon: whatever the reason, all the existing 
forms of Humanism (even the least materialist) are demonstrably 
equally incapable of giving Man the stimulus of confidence that is 



indispensable to his advance towards a supremely desirable and - 
what is even more important - indestructible goal, lying at 
die term of his activities. Whether the reason be the depersonal- 
izing socializing of individuals or the unexorcized threat of a 
total death, there is not a single one of the 'religions' as yet 
produced by Science in which the Universe does not become 
hopelessly icy, hopelessly closed (and that ultimately means 
uninhabitable) ahead, in its 'polar' zones. There you have the 

Nor, let me add, among the religions of the Above. For (and in this 
direction we may confine ourselves to the most significant and 
die most promising instance, by which I mean 'classical 9 
Christianity) it is becoming every day more obvious that our 
generation finds something lacking in an Evangelism infected 
with a near-Manichaeanism, in which the advances of Knowledge 
and Technology are presented not as a primary accompanying 
condition of human spiritualizatdon, but simply as an added 
extra; in which failure is regarded as on the same level with 
success, endowed with just as much, if not more, sanctifying 
value; in which the Cross is constantly held up before us to 
remind us of our world's initial miscarriage; in which the 
Parousk floats on the horizon in an atmosphere of coming 
catastrophe rather than of fulfilment 

We must admit that if the neo-humanisms of the twentieth 
century de-humanize us under their uninspired skies, yet on die 
other hand the still-living forms of theism - starting with die 
Christian - tend to under-humanize us in the rarified atmosphere 
of too lofty skies. These religions are still systematically closed 
to the wide horizons and great winds of Cosmogenesis, and can 
no longer truly be said to feel with the Earth - an Earth whose 
internal frictions they can still lubricate like a soothing oil, but 
whose driving energies they cannot animate as they should. 

It is here that the power of the 'Christie 9 bursts into view - in 
the form in which it has emerged from what we have been 
saying, engendered by the progressive coming together, in our 



consciousness, of the cosmic demands of an incarnate Word and 
the spiritual potentialities of a convergent Universe. We have 
already seen how a strictly governed amalgam is effected, in the 
Divine Milieu, between die forces of Heaven and the forces of 
Earth. An exact conjunction is produced between the old God 
of the Above and the new God of the Ahead. 

Indeed, once we cease to isolate Christianity and to oppose it 
to the moving, once we resolutely connect it up to the World in 
movement, then, however obsolete it may appear to our modern 
Gentiles, it instantly and completely regains its original power to 
activate and attract. 

And this is because, once that coupling' has been effected, it is 
only Christianity, of all die forms of worship born in the course of 
human history, that can display the astonishing power of energiz- 
ing to the full, by 'amorizing' them, both the powers of growth 
and life and the powers of diminishment and death, at the heart of) 
and in the process of, the Noogenesis in which we are involved. 

As I said before, it is still, and will always be, Christianity : but 
a 're-born* Christianity, as assured of victory tomorrow as it 
was in its infancy - because it alone (through the double power, 
at last folly understood, of its Cross and Resurrection) is capable of 
becoming the Religion whose specific property it is to provide 
the driving force in Evolution. 

conclusion: thb promised land 5 

Energy, then, becomes Presence. 

And so the possibility is disclosed for, opens out for, Man, not 
only of believing and hoping but (what is much more unexpected 
and much more valuable) of loping, co-extensively and co-organi- 
cally with all the past, the present and the future of a Universe 
which is in process of concentration upon itself 

It would seem that a single ray of such a light falling like a 
spark, no matter where, on the Noosphere, would be bound to 
produce an explosion of such violence that it would almost 



instantaneously set the face of the Earth ablaze and make it 
completely new. 

How is it, then, that as I look around me, still dazzled by what 
I have seen, I find that I am almost the only person of my kind, 
the only one to have seen ? And so I cannot, when asked, quote a 
single writer, a single work, that gives a clearly expressed 
description of the wonderful 'Diaphany' that has transfigured 
everything for me? 

How, most of all, can it be that 'when I come down from the 
mountain 9 and in spite of the glorious vision I still retain, I find 
that I am so little a better man, so little at peace, so incapable of 
expressing in my actions, and thus adequately communicating to 
others, the wonderful unity that I feel encompassing me? 

Is there, in fact, a Universal Christ, is there a Divine Milieu ? 

Or am I, after all, simply the dupe of a mirage in my own 

I often ask myself that question. 

Every time, however, that I begin to doubt, three successive 
waves of evidence rise up from the deep within me to counter 
that doubt, sweeping away from my mind the mistaken fear that 
my 'Christie* may be no more than an illusion. 

First, there is the evidence provided by the coherence that this 
ineffable element (or Milieu) introduces into the underlying 
depths of my mind and heart. As, of course, I know only too 
well, in spite of the ambitious grandeur of my ideas, I am still, 
in practice, imperfect to a disturbing degree. For all the claims 
implicit in its expression, my faith does not produce in me as much 
real charity, as much calm trust, as the catechism still taught to 
children produces in the humble worshipper kneeling beside me. 
Nevertheless I know, too, that this sophisticated faith, of which I 
make such poor use, is the only faith I can tolerate, the only faith 
that can satisfy me - and even (of this I am certain) the only faith 
that can meet the needs of the simple souls, the good folk, of 

Next there is the evidence provided by the contagious power 



of a form of Charity in which it becomes possible to love God 
'not only with all one's body and all one's soul* but with the 
whole Universe^-in-evolution. It would be impossible for me, as I 
admitted earlier, to quote a single 'authority' (religious or lay) 
in which I could claim fully to recognize myself, whether in 
relation to my 'cosmic* or my 'Christie* vision. On the other 
hand, I cannot fail to feel around me - if only from the way in 
which 'my ideas' are becoming more widely accepted - the 
pulsation of countless people who are all - ranging from the 
border-line of unbelief to the depths of the cloister - thinking 
and feeling, or at least beginning vaguely to feel, just as I do. It 
is indeed heartening to know that I am not a lone discoverer, but 
that I am, quite simply, responding to the vibration that (given a 
particular condition of Christianity and of the world) is necessarily 
active in all the souls around me. It is, in consequence, exhilarating 
to feel that I am not just myself or all alone, that my name is 
legion, that I am 'all men', and that this is true even in as much as 
the single-mindedness of tomorrow can be recognized as throb- 
bing into life in the depths of my being. 

Finally, there is the evidence contained in the superiority of 
my vision compared with what I had been taught - even though 
there is at the same time an identity with it. Because of their very 
function, neither the God who draws us to himself, nor the 
world whose evolution we share, can afford to be, the former 
less perfect a Being, the latter less powerful a stimulant, than our 
concepts and needs demand. In either case - unless we are going 
to accept a positive discord in the very stuff of things - it is in the 
direction of the fullest that the truth lies. Now, as we saw earlier, 
it is in the 'Christie' that, in the century in which we are living, 
die Divine reaches the summit of adorability, and the evolutionary 
die extreme limit of activation. This can mean only one thing, 
that it is in that direction that the human must inevitably incline; 
there, sooner or later, to find unity. 

Once that is understood, I immediately find a perfectly natural 
explanation for my isolation and apparent idiosyncrasy. 



Everywhere on Earth, at this moment, in the new spiritual 
atmosphere created by the appearance of the idea of evolution, 
there float, in a state of extreme mutual sensitivity, love of God 
and faith in the world: the two essential components of the 
Ultra-human. These two components are everywhere 'in the air 9 ; 
generally, however, they are not strong enough, both at the same 
time, to combine with one another in one and the same subject. In 
me, it happens by pure chance (temperament, upbringing, back- 
ground) that the proportion of the one to the other is correct, and 
the fusion of the two has been effected spontaneously - not as yet 
with sufficient force to spread explosively - but strong enough 
nevertheless to make it clear that the process is possible - and that 
sooner or later there will be a chain-reaction. 

This is one more proof that Truth has to appear only once, in 
one single mind, for it to be impossible for anything ever to 
prevent it from spreading universally and setting everything 

New York, March 1955 

1. In The Heart of Matter (above) I have tried to describe, more or less autobio- 
graphically, the general process and the principal stages of this 'apparition 9 . 

a. The physical reasons are structural: it is the nature of union to consolidate - so long 
as the unification continues. And the psychological reasons are based on logical necessity : if 
the biological unification of the World could be conceived as being bound sooner or 
later to come to a halt, the anticipation of such an ending (see below) would be sufficient 
to produce in us an abhorrence of super-living and so kill our evolutive effort of co- 

|. And probablypnsofarastocreateisto unify) ecery possible Universe. 

4. C£ The Priest in Writings b Time of War, pp. 203-24. (EdVs note) 

5. Soon after the end of the World War I, Pere Teilhard had discerned, from the 
summit his thoughts had reached, the emergence of the other Earth: 

'I shall advance into the future with the new strength of my twofold faith as man and as 
Christian: for, from the mountain peak, I have seen the Promised Land. 9 Goldscheuer 
(Baden) February 19x9. In Writings in Time of War, p. 288. (Ed's note) 



Maundy Thursday, 7 April 1953 

Three days before his death, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin wrote the notes 
that are printed overleaf; with the last page of his diary, they represent 
his supreme testimony as thinker and religious. The text has been 
deciphered and annotated by Claude Cu&iot, and published by him in 
Ce que Teilhard a vraiment dit (Paris 1973). 




A' ' ' h M f 1 ) fi^V developed (Cosmos-humanism) 
tinguisn ^ j^jjy evo j ve j (=. ^ planetary-phyletic 

the planetary Human 

Humanism of Cosmogenesis 

7 April 1 

(Maundy Thursday) -*What I believe 

Syntheses (theological confirmation! . . • 
Revelation ultra-satisfied!) 

i) St Paul ... the 3 verses: 2 ev iraai iravra deos* 
2) Cosmos » Cosmogenesis — biogenesis — noogenesis — Christogenesis 
cosmos == cosmogenesis -> biogenesis -► noogenesis 

(The Phenomenon of Man) 
f 3) The Universe is centred (Evolutively, Above ^ 
The 2 articles ^ Ahead J 

of my Credo Christ is its centre 

(Christian Phenomenon) 
noogenesis = Christogenesis 

(s St Paul, loco citato!) 
.The consistencel of 'Spirit' 



?Ptro 'What I believe* 

1) Centred Cosmos -in the 3rd infinite - neo-humanism (ultra-Human) 

2) Christ is the centre of the Cosmos (noogenesis « Christogenesis) 
-► neo-Christianity (Neo-Nicaea) 

-► saves noogenesis'l (= Paul . . .) 

is saved by it / 


1. The text is wrongly dated 6 April: but Easter Sunday fell on zo April 1955. (Note 
a. z Cor. xv. 26, 27, 28. (Note by C.C) 
3. Enpasipantatheos« God all in all (Note by C.C.) 




The Note on the Essence of Transformism (not dated by the author) has 
been published in Volume 2 of Etudes teilhardiennes, with the approval 
of the Teilhard de Chardin Foundation. "When the editor of that review, 
Dr J. P. Demoulin, was trying to determine as closely as possible the 
date when the Note was written, he drew our attention to Pere 
Teilhard's war-time Diary. There, under the date 21 November 1919, 
we find a page headed The Essence of Transformism (VEssentiel du 
Transformisme). A careful reading of what is written there, combined 
with a re-reading of 'How the Transformist Question Presents itself 
today* (of which the third section is entitled 'The Essence of Trans- 
formism 9 ) in The Vision of the Past, pp. 7-25, suggests that the Note 
printed here is intermediate between die other two. 

A further reason for dating it in the middle of 1920 is provided by 
what we read in the third paragraph, The aim of the first note, etc 9 
The only second note P&re Teilhard could have had in mind is the 
'Note on Progress 9 , which is dated 10 August 1920. 

This latter note, in fact, supports transformism (in the sense of 
organic connection in the succession of living beings) by emphasizing 
the movement which ensures that connection - continuous and directed 
Progress: in one word, Evolution. 

The lyrical ending of this second Note admirably summarizes the 
two essays: 

\ . . the man whose eyes have been opened will make his way back 
into the sealed depths of Nature. There he will peer down into the vast 
tangle of branches that supports him and disappears into the far 
distance below him, lost in the heart of the dim Past; and once again 
he will fill his soul to overflowing as he contemplates and vibrates in 
sympathy with a single-minded and determined movement which is 
written into the series of dead layers and the present distribution of all 
living beings. If he then looks upwards, to the wide areas that wait 
for new creations, he will consecrate himself, body and soul, with 



newly strengthened faith, to a Progress which draws or sweeps along 
even those who reject it/ Cf. The Future of Man, p. 24. The second 
volume of die Diary ; which includes this passage, is to be published 
by Editions Fayard, edited by Dr Karl Schmitz-Moormann. 

It is often difficult for a scientist not to be irritated when he has 
occasion to read a paper that deals with problems of evolution. 
Nine times out often, if the writer is an opponent of transformism, 
his blows are wide of the mark, or he is flogging a dead horse. 
Nine times out often, again, if he is a supporter of Darwin or 
Lamarck, Ids arguments in favour of biological evolution leave 
intact the essential position of those who believe in fixed species, 
or do no more than offend them to no good purpose. 

Discussions about Transformism are generally fruitless because 
there is no common meeting ground. 

The aim of the first Note is to discover the exact point to which 
the fundamental opposition between fixists and transformists can 
be narrowed down. It is a point, I believe, that is not explicitly 
recognized by all; but all feel it instinctively and unmistakably; 
and fundamentally, while questions that are at times of very 
minor importance and relevance are being discussed, it is in the 
end the acceptance or rejection of this single point that is the 
occasion of such passionate argument 

If we wish to be certain of not missing this most important 
spot at which the basic divergence first makes itself felt, we have 
only to take up our position first in an area where, as all are 
agreed, there is as yet no cleavage between our minds; we can 
then advance progressively towards those areas where opinions 
are disputed. 

Let us start, then, in this analysis from the fact, eminently clear 
to everyone, that there is a certain unity of forms in Nature. We 
did not have to wait for Darwin to note that there is a resemblance 



between Man and the monkey, between the crab and the crayfish, 
between the cat and the leopard. Living creatures are grouped in 
categories; they form families, genera, species. A child needs no 
help to discover that fact. 

The immediate consequence, universally recognized, of the 
existence of a morphological continuity in Nature is that since 
living beings form an 'arranged* whole, they are not scattered 
objects completely detached from one another. Something 
connects them, in their forms and in their order of appearance. 
They hold together by something. Here again, everyone is of the 
same mini 

Already, however, we find that we have to take a further 
step, and that a decisive one. At its most generalized level, 
what is the nature of this "something 9 in virtue of which living 
beings are constituted of elements, in which we see kinship and 
gradation, of one and the same whole? What sort of cement 9 is 
it that is distributed among the pieces added to the Universe in 
succession? Is the stuff of this element intellectual or physical? It is 
here that we come close to the great rift where, if we are not 
careful, the transformist question becomes a tangle of mis- 

A first, and theoretically possible, answer to the question we 
have asked is as follows: 'Living beings are distributed in the 
Universe according to a purely intellectual plan. There is no 
determinism to bridge their various forms, no connection 
that is physical in nature; there is only an artificial continuity. 
The law which governs the succession of living forms, the 
reason for their resemblances, is not to be sought within things: 
it is entirely concentrated in a creative idea, which develops the 
design it has, in its wisdom, conceived, in successive points 
established in a given series. The Universe is a concatenation of 
beings, germinating independently of one another. If the motion 
of its curve is to be understood, it must be broken down into a 
series of individual terms, each one established as a distinct new 
whole. If, for example, the product of the term N+i is governed 



by the term N, it is solely in virtue of its numerical order in the 
creative plan, and not as the result of an influence exerted upon it 
organically by N. Living forms constitute a chain, they lead on 
from one to another, by reason of a logical take-over sequence that 
exists in the mind of God. 

This theory might be called 'logicalism'. 

The second answer, again expressed in very general terms, to 
the crucial question: "What is the nature of the mechanism that 
governs the form of successive living beings and the order in 
which they appear?* is as follows. 'Living beings are disposed in 
their various categories, they control one another in their 
successive appearances, through the influence of that factor which, 
in its reality and immediacy, is physical, organic, and cosmic. The 
Universe is so constituted that living beings, regarded as in 
the order of secondary causes, gradually encourage one another's 
development as an effect of their biological condition. Thus, if 
the Horse followed Mesohippus, if Man was born after certain 
Primates, this was through die operation of a specific physical agent. 
It was physically impossible for the first Horse, the first Man or 
the first Moneron to appear either earlier or later than they did. 
Without as yet pre-judging in any way the particular physical 
nature of this connection, and without even asserting that there is 
a line of descent, properly so called, linking organic beings, we 
hold firmly to the belief that the various terms of life appear as a 
physical response to one another. Each one of them has already 
been formed by the whole past of the Universe, and when its own 
turn comes it is introduced, like a ripe fruit, at its appointed place 
in the development of the whole/ 

That sums up the position of the advocates of the physical 

When once these two basic attitudes, the logical and the 
physical, have been properly understood, it will be evident that 
the roots of the transformist controversy do not lie where we 
thought they did; it is not a matter of Darwinism or Lamarckism 
(that is quite clear) nor of Mono- or Poly-phyletism (which is hot 



so widely appreciated), nor is it even quite the problem of the 
line of descent (which may well come as a surprise to many 
persons). The only real issue is, should we be logicalists or 

An experiment will illustrate my point. 

Suppose that you are a fbrist and that you concede to the 
transformist a fluctuation, as extensive as you please, within 
animal forms. Grant his assertion that all the Mammals, all the 
Fishes, all the Insects are descended each from the same stock. 
But hold fast to your view that the first Mammal, the first Fish, 
the first Insect, appeared arbitrarily and artificially at the moment 
chosen by the Creator, and not in response to the Universe's 
physical need to accept them - not, that is to say, to meet the 
Universe's fully developed power to produce diem - then die 
Transformist will turn a deaf ear to your arguments. 

On the other hand, prove to this same Transformist by good 
solid facts that the animal Kingdom is essentially poly-phyletic 
and that there are as many different stocks as there are systematic 
genera or species: then he will accept your discoveries without 
turning a hair, he will be grateful to you and will believe that he 
has no need to change in any respect his fundamental transformist 
attitude - even though the shape of his vision of the World has 
been completely modified. Why is this ? It is because these count- 
less phyla you have pointed out to him will still seem to him to 
be successive bursts that obey a single law. They will be to him 
the surface shoots produced in succession by an invisible, but 
physically present, rhizome. 

We see, then, that we might imagine a transformist who 
believed in the original multiplicity of species, and a fixist who 
would accept only a single one! They would have reversed their 
apparent positions without modifying their fundamental point 
of view. 

If you reduce a transformist to the simplest terms, you will be 
left with a physicalist It is 'faith' in one organic physical inter- 
relation of living beings, it is that and nothing else which constitutes 



the necessary and sufficient disposition for an evolutionist mind. 

Biologists are apt to argue about the limits of heredity or about 
the nature of some particular primitive characteristics, or they 
may reject this or that line of descent. Some writers conclude from 
this that the idea of transformism is losing ground. This is pure 
naiveti. When it comes to the existence of an organic connection 
between all living forms, there is not a single natural scientist 
worthy of the name who does not feel his fundamental conviction 
grow stronger every day with every new detail. He may hesitate 
about the precise nature of the physical agent shared by the 
successive forms of life; but the belief that such an agent exists, 
whether it be confused with the generative function or not, the. 
dream that one day we shall be able to put a name to it and 
define its behaviour, it is there we find his most precious con- 
viction and his grandest hope. 

So much for the transformists. And now it will be no injustice 
to the fixists, I am sure, to say that the very adoption of their 
fbtist position shows that it is they who are logicalists. Nor, indeed, 
can they logically be anything else. They will, I know, take 
exception to this judgement, and deny the attribution. They will 
maintain that, in their view, the divine plan can and must be 
expressed in a property conferred on secondary causes of being 
able progressively to stimulate the development of living forms. 
Yet, in so doing, the fixists are contradicting themselves and are 
already, strictly speaking, transformist. For the transformist 
retains the right, as much as anyone else, to believe that a creative 
act is necessary to set the world in motion. What he postu- 
lates is quite simply that this perennial and indispensable act on 
the part of the first cause, comes to us in the order of history 
and experience in the form of an organically established movement. 
And that is precisely what you fixists are now conceding. 

We have to make a choice : there is either evolution or intrusion. 
Living forms, in the order of their appearance, either physically 
pave the way for one another and introduce one another: and 



this is true transformism, with all its historical and biological 
consequences. Or, the various living forms arise in isolation 
(without, that is, any created being to introduce them), there are 
no offshoots and no phyla, and we are therefore obliged 
immediately to fall back on the intervention of an extra-cosmic 
intelligence in order to explain the resemblances we find among 
organic beings. If that alternative is accepted, we have pure 
logicalism, with all its improbabilities. 

If the fixists push their view home, they are left with no 
hypothesis but that of a divine plan which is effected with no 
created intermediary. Only so can they interpret the glaring fact 
of the morphological unity of living forms. They are either 
unreservedly logicalists, or they are transfbrmists, or they can give 
us no explanation at all. 

Nevertheless, we are obliged to find an explanation of the 
inter-connection of living beings. And this not to satisfy an 
unworthy whim nor for the mere pleasure of argument, but 
under the irresistible impulse of what is most sacred in Man, the 
need to know and feel a sense of direction. 

The three simple considerations I have outlined above seem 
to me to merit attention. The fact is that to recognize that trans- 
fbrmists are in reality physicalists, and fixists are logicalists - and 
so reduce to a single profound divergence the thousand and one 
superficial controversies that so uselessly surround discussion of 
biological evolution - finally, to replace the secondary problems 
of heredity and generation by the great question of the "universal 
cement' in things: to do this would really place the philosophic 
question of transformism on solid ground. It is on this exact 
point of Physicalism and Logicalism, and nowhere else, that 
those who hold opposing views can make contact and meet face 
to face - if indeed any discussion be still possible when the terms 
of the problem are expressed in so simple and crude a form. 

For we must admit that when the transformist question is 
reduced to its essentials it seems almost to disappear; and this 



because it becomes so clear, first, that nobody is inflexibly fixist un- 
less he takes refuge in the abstract domain of the First Cause; 
and secondly, that in the domain of concrete realities, everyone is, 
if not avowedly at least substantially, transformist. 

1920. Earlier than the Note on Progress of 10 August 1920. 



As early as 1921, Pfere Teilhard, with characteristic insight and foresight, 
was discerning the danger of a breach between a Christianity folded 
back upon its own past, and a world that was being drawn ahead at 
breakneck speed by science. Caught between the consequent stalemate 
on the one side and the irresistible pressure on the other of the Holy 
Spirit whose function it is to lead the mystical body of Christ to its 
final term, his life was torn between two loyalties to which he wished 
at all costs to be true: loyalty to the ecclesiastical hierarchy, and 
loyalty to the Spirit of God. It was in this state of mind, which was to 
last until his death, that Pere Teilhard wrote the following statement, 
addressed to a non-Catholic friend who accused him of bad faith in his 
submission. It need hardly be pointed out that he deliberately confined 
his reasons for loyalty to such as would be acceptable to an unbeliever. 
For inclusion in this volume, we have detached the statement itself 
from the accompanying letter. The latter will be published in its en- 
tirety in one of die volumes of correspondence. 

If there is one thing I fear less than everything else, it is, I believe, 
persecution for my opinions. There are a good many points about 
which I may be diffident, but when it comes to questions of Truth 
and intellectual independence there is no holding me - I can 
envisage no finer end than to sacrifice oneself for a conviction. 
That is precisely how Christ died. Still, there is rather more 
involved: the more I become aware of certain failures on the part 
of the Church to adapt herself, of a loss of her vitality (to which I 
shall return later), the more I recognize how incompetent I am 
and how ill-qualified to take it upon myself to give a definitive 
appreciation of her in her general or, if you prefer the word, her 



axial character. The Church represents so powerful a channelling of 
what constitutes the moral and 'sublimating' life-blood of souls, a 
conduit dug so deep into the whole of man's past - in spite of 
certain accidental and ephemeral lapses from generosity, she has 
to so marked a degree die faculty of encouraging human nature 
to develop itself fully and harmoniously, that I would feel guilty 
of disloyalty to Life if I tried to free myself from so organic a 
current as the Church provides. In spite of the unvoiced and 
instinctive wish I have at certain times experienced, the wish to 
find a positive reason for 'dropping everything', I cannot shut 
my eyes to the fact that 'It would be a biological blunder for me 
to leave the religious current of Catholicism'. 

Everything in that current is not equally to my taste; but every- 
thing in it has a certain flexibility, and I can see nothing outside 
it that sorts better with the tendencies and hopes that I feel. Even 
if we were to suppose that this form of religion is even further 
from Truth than we think, the fact would still remain that it is 
the most perfect approximation to that Truth - and that, if we 
are to mount higher, we have to outdistance it by growing with it; 
we must not abandon it to seek our road by ourselves. - If there 
is a Being who is the Centre of the convergence of all, then that 
Being is in some way implicated in the Church's moral success, 
and it is impossible that he should hold it against us that we have 
subordinated our personal preferences to her on many obscure 
points where our intellectual loyalty is not involved. . JP 

Granted that, and since I do not consider that I have tlie right to 
break with the Church (it would be suicide), how can I reconcile 
this communion with her, that I have to maintain, with the 
divergences that, on certain points, divide me from ike form 
commonly accepted today in which certain of her belpfs are 
expressed? Simply by allowing full weight to this essentially 
orthodox truth, that the Church possesses and transmits from 
century to century a view of Christ - an experience of Christ, a 
way of living Christ - whose definitive form, and whose richness ; 



she is unable at any given moment to express completely. All 
theologians are obliged to admit this: the Pope and all the 
assembled Bishops are powerless to tell us exactly all that there is in 
Christ. Christ (his life, knowledge of him) has been part of the 
deposit of the whole Church (priests and laity) of all ages. For 
Christ to be finally understood calls for the energy of all the 
Christians that will ever exist until the end of time; and no 
Council can hasten this long period of maturing. - I am well 
aware that the evolution of Dogma (a phenomenon which is 
becoming the over-riding organic law of the Church for all who 
examine her from outside or experience her from within), I 
am also well aware that it is still explained by some theologians in 
terms of a narrowing, naively intefiectualist theory. In their view 
Dogma evolves simply by rational analysis of die formulas in 
which it is expressed. Such a view is untenable. Were that true, it 
would call only for a sufficiently penetrating intelligence to 
unravel Dogma and exhaust its meaning, just as one does with a 
geometric proposition. No, as I have just pointed out, Dogma 
evolves in accordance with a much more complex logic, much 
slower, much richer, than that of concepts. It evolves as a man 
does: he is the same at the age of forty as he was at the age often 
but his shape at forty cannot be deduced from what it was at ten. 
The Church changes in the same way: she has a certain identity, 
but it is the identity of a person, of an organism; and it does not 
exclude - on the contrary it presupposes - a framework of truths 
that can be expressed in formulas. (They can practically all be 
reduced to this single one: Christ is the physical centre of the 
gathering together of souls in God.) These formulas, however, 
express an invariable basis of truth which will necessarily assume a 
continually new aspect according as man becomes more conscious 
of his past and of his environment. In a sense, Christ is in the 
Church m the same way as the sun is before our eyes. We see 
the same jsun as our fathers saw, and yet we understand it in a 
much mete magnificent way. I believe that the Church is still a 



child. Christ, by whom she lives, is immeasurably greater than 
she imagines. And yet, when thousands of years have gone by 
and Christ's true countenance is a little more plainly seen, the 
Christians of those days will still, without any reservations, recite 
the Apostles 9 Creed. 

5 January 1921 



P&re Teilhard had written a first version of The Mass on the World (then. 
called The Priest) in July 1918, in the Forest of Laigue (Writings in Time 
of War, pp. 203-24). He had just taken, when on leave in Lyons, his 
solemn vows in the Jesuit house there. 

This is the final version. Until his death, however, P&re Teilhard was 
to continue to live his Mass on the World in an ever more intense light. 
(Cf. The Christie, above, p. 80.) 

From die desert of Ordos he wrote as follows: 'When for days on 
end I am travelling by mule I repeat, as I used to - for lack of any other 
Mass - the "Mass on the World" which you know, and I believe I say 
it with even more clarity and conviction than before 9 . (Letters to 
Uontine Zanta, p. 52, 7 August 1923 : beside the Shara-osso-gol, eastern 

In the same month he was writing to the Abb£ Breuil: 'I keep 
developing, and slightly improving, with the help of prayer, my "Mass 
upon things". It seems to me that in a sense the true substance to be 
consecrated each day is the world's development during that day - 
the bread symbolizing appropriately what creation succeeds in pro- 
ducing, the wine (blood) what creation causes to be lost in exhaustion 
and suffering in the course of its effort/ (Letters front a Traveller,^. 86, 
26 August 1923.) 


Since once again, Lord - though this time not in the forests of the 
Aisne but in the steppes of Asia - 1 have neither bread, nor wine, 
nor altar, I will raise myself beyond these symbols, up to the pure 
majesty of the real itself; I, your priest, will make the whole earth 
my altar and on it will offer you all the labours and sufferings of 
the world. 

Over there, on the horizon, the sun has just touched with light 
the outermost fringe of the eastern sky. Once again, beneath this 



moving sheet of fire, the living surface of the earth wakes and 
trembles, and once again begins its fearful travail. I will place on 
my paten, O God, the harvest to be won by this renewal of 
labour. Into my chalice I shall pour all the sap which is to be 
pressed out this day from the earth's fruits. 

My paten and my chalice are the depths of a soul laid widely 
open to all the forces which in a moment will rise up from every 
corner of the earth and converge upon the Spirit. Grant me the 
remembrance and the mystic presence of all those whom the light 
is now awakening to the new day. 

One by one, Lord, I see and I love all those whom you have 
given me to sustain and charm my life. One by one also I number 
all those who make up that other beloved family which has 
gradually surrounded me, its unity fashioned out of the most 
disparate elements, with affinities of the heart, of scientific 
research and of thought. And again one by one - more vaguely it 
is true, yet ail-inclusively - 1 call before me the whole vast anony- 
mous army of living humanity; those who surround me and 
support me though I do not know them; those who come, and 
those who go; above all, those who in office, laboratory and 
factory, through their vision of truth or despite their error, truly 
believe in the progress of earthly reality and who today will take 
up again their impassioned pursuit of the light. 

This restless multitude, confused or orderly, the immensity of 
which terrifies us; this ocean of humanity whose slow, monot- 
onous wave-flows trouble the hearts even of those whose faith is 
most firm: it is to this deep that I thus desire all the fibres of my 
being should respond. All the things in the world to which this 
day will bring increase; all those that will diminish; all those too 
that will die: all of them, Lord, I try to gather into my arms, so 
as to hold them out to you in offering. This is the material of my 
sacrifice; the only material you desire. 

Once upon a time men took into your temple the first fruits 
of their harvests, the flower of their flocks. But the offering you 
really want, the offering you mysteriously need every day to 



appease your hunger, to slake your thirst is nothing less than the 
growth of the world borne ever onwards in the stream of uni- 
versal becoming. 

Receive, O Lord, this all-embracing host which your whole 
creation, moved by your magnetism, offers you at this dawn of a 
new day. 

This bread, our toil, is of itself, I know, but an immense 
fragmentation; this wine, our pain, is no more, I know, than a 
draught that dissolves. Yet in the very depths of this formless 
mass you have implanted - and this I am sure of, for I sense it - a 
desire, irresistible, hallowing, which makes us cry out, believer 
and unbeliever alike: 'Lord, make us one. 9 

Because, my God, though I lack the soul-zeal and the sublime 
integrity of your saints, I yet have received from you an over- 
whelming sympathy for all that stirs within the dark mass of 
matter; because I know myself to be irremediably less a child of 
heaven than a son of earth; therefore I will this morning climb 
up in spirit to the high places, bearing with me the hopes and the 
miseries of my mother; and there - empowered by that priest* 
hood which you alone (as I firmly believe) have bestowed on me - 
upon all that in the world of human flesh is now about to be 
born or to die beneath the rising sun I will call down the Fire. 


Fire, the source of being: we cling so tenaciously to the illusion 
that fire comes forth from the depths of the earth and that its 
flames grow progressively brighter as it pours along the radiant 
furrows of life's tillage. Lord, in your mercy you gave me to see 
that this idea is false, and that I must overthrow it if I were ever to 
have sight of you. 

In the beginning was Power, intelligent, loving, energizing. In 
the beginning was the Word, supremely capable of mastering and 
moulding whatever might come into being in the world of matter. 
In the beginning there were not coldness and darkness: there was 



the Fire. This is the truth. 

So, far from light emerging gradually out of the womb of our 
darkness, it is the Light, existing before all else was made which, 
patiently, surely, eliminates our darkness. As for us creatures, of 
ourselves we are but emptiness and obscurity. But you, my God, 
are the inmost depths, the stability of that eternal milieu, without 
duration or space, in which our cosmos emerges gradually into 
being and grows gradually to its final completeness, as it loses 
those boundaries which to our eyes seem so immense. Everything 
is being; everywhere there is being and nothing but being, save 
in the fragmentation of creatures and the clash of their atoms. 

Blazing Spirit, Fire, personal, supersubstantial, the consum- 
mation of a union so immeasurably more lovely and more 
desirable than that destructive fusion of which all the pantheists 
dream: be pleased yet once again to come down and breathe a 
soul into the newly formed, fragile film of matter with which 
this day the world is to be freshly clothed. 

I know we cannot forestall, still less dictate to you, even the 
smallest of your actions; from you alone comes all initiative - and 
this applies in the first place to my prayer. 

Radiant Word, blazing Power, you who mould the multiple so 
as to breathe your life into it; I pray you, lay on us those your 
hands - powerful, considerate, omnipresent, those hands which 
do not (like our human hands) touch now here, now there, but 
which plunge into the depths and the totality, present and past, 
of things so as to reach us simultaneously through all that is most 
immense and most inward within us and around us. 

May the might of those invincible hands direct and transfigure 
for the great world you have in mind that earthly travail which 
I have gathered into my heart and now offer you in its entirety. 
Remould it, rectify it, recast it down to the depths from whence it 
springs. You know how your creatures can come into being only, 
like shoot from stem, as part of an endlessly renewed process of 

Do you now therefore, speaking through my lips, pronounce 



over this earthly travail your twofold efficacious word: the word 
without which all that our wisdom and our experience have built 
up must totter and crumble - the word through which all our 
most far-reaching speculations and our encounter with the 
universe are come together into a unity. Over every living thing 
which is to spring up, to grow, to flower, to ripen during this 
day say again the words: This is my Body. And over every death- 
force which waits in readiness to corrode, to wither, to cut down, 
speak again your commanding words which express the supreme 
mystery of faith: This is my Blood. 1 


It is done. 

Once again the Fire has penetrated the earth. 

Not with sudden crash of thunderbolt, riving the mountain- 
tops: does the Master break down doors to enter his own home ? 
Without earthquake, or thunderclap: the flame has lit up the 
whole world from within. All things individually and collectively 
are penetrated and flooded by it, from the inmost core of the 
tiniest atom to the mighty sweep of the most universal laws of 
being: so naturally has it flooded every element, every energy, 
every connecting-link in the unity of our cosmos; that one might 
suppose the cosmos to have burst spontaneously into flame. 

In the new humanity which is begotten today the Word 
prolongs the unending act of his own birth; and by virtue of his 
immersion in the world's womb the great waters of the kingdom 
of matter have, without even a ripple, been endued with life. No 
visible tremor marks this inexpressible transformation; and yet, 
mysteriously and in very truth, at the touch of the supersubstantial 
Word the immense host which is the universe is made flesh. 
Through your own incarnation, my God, all matter is henceforth 

Through our thoughts and our human experiences, we long 
ago became aware of the strange properties which make the 



universe so like our flesh: 

like the flesh it attracts us by the charm which lies in the 
mystery of its curves and folds and in the depths of its eyes; 

like the flesh it disintegrates and eludes us when submitted to 
our analyses or to our fallings away and in the process of its own 

as with the flesh, it can only be embraced in the endless reaching 
out to attain what lies beyond the confines of what has been given 
to us. 

All of us, Lord, from the moment we are born feel within us 
this disturbing mixture of remoteness and nearness; and in our 
heritage of sorrow and hope, passed down to us through the ages, 
there is no yearning more desolate than that which makes us 
weep with vexation and desire as we stand in the midst of the 
Presence which hovers about us nameless and impalpable and is 
indwelling in all things. Si forte attrectent eum.* 

Now, Lord, through the consecration of the world the 
luminosity and fragrance which suffuse the universe take on for 
me the lineaments of a body and a face - in you. What my mind 
glimpsed through its hesitant explorations, what my heart craved 
with so little expectation of fulfilment, you now magnificently 
unfold for me: the fact that your creatures are not merely so 
linked together in solidarity that none can exist unless all the rest 
surround it, but that all are so dependent on a single central 
reality that a true life, borne in common by them all, gives them 
ultimately their consistence and their unity. 

Shatter, my God, through the daring of your revelation the 
childishly timid outlook that can conceive of nothing greater or 
more vital in the world than the pitiable perfection of our human 
organism. On the road to a bolder comprehension of the universe 
the children of this world day by day outdistance the masters of 
Israel; but do you, Lord Jesus, "in whom all things subsist', 
show yourself to those who love you as the higher Soul and the 
physical centre of your creation? Are you not well aware that for 
us this is a question of life or death? As for me, if I could not 



believe that your real Presence animates and makes tractable and 
enkindles even the very least of the energies which invade me or 
brush past me, would I not die of cold ? 

I thank you, my God, for having in a thousand different ways 
led my eyes to discover the immense simplicity of things. Little 
by little, through the irresistible development of those yearnings 
you implanted in me as a child, through the influence of gifted 
friends who entered my life at certain moments to bring light and 
strength to my mind, and through the awakenings of spirit I owe 
to the successive initiations, gentle and terrible, .which you 
caused me to undergo: through all these I have been brought to 
the point where I can no longer see anything, nor any longer 
breathe, outside that milieu in which all is made one. 

At this moment when your life has just poured with super- 
abundant vigour into the sacrament of the world, I shall savour 
with heightened consciousness the intense yet tranquil rapture of 
a vision whose coherence and harmonies I can never exhaust. 

What I experience as I stand in face of- and in the very depths 
of- this world which your flesh has assimilated, this world which 
has become your flesh, my God, is not the absorption of the monist 
who yearns to be dissolved into the unity of things, nor the 
emotion felt by the pagan as he lies prostrate before a tangible 
divinity, nor yet the passive self-abandonment of the quietist 
tossed hither and thither at the mercy of mystical impulsions. 
From each of these modes of thought I take something of their 
motive force while avoiding their pitfalls: the approach deter- 
mined for me by your omnipresence is a wonderful synthesis 
wherein three of the most formidable passions that can unlock 
the human heart rectify each other as they mingle: like the 
monist I plunge into the all-inclusive One; but the One is so 
perfect that as it receives me and I lose myself in it I can find in it 
the ultimate perfection of my own individuaUty; 

like the pagan I worship a God who can be touched; and I do 
indeed touch him - this God - over the whole surface and in the 
depths of that world of matter which confines me : but to take hold 



of him as I would wish (simply in order not to stop touching him), 
I must go always on and on through and beyond each under- 
taking, unable to rest in anything, borne onwards at each 
moment by creatures and at each moment going beyond them, 
in a continuing welcoming of them and a continuing detachment 
from them; 

like the quietist I allow myself with delight to be cradled in the 
divine fantasy: but at the same time I know that the divine will, 
will only be revealed to me at each moment if I exert myself to 
the utmost: I shall only touch God in the world of matter, when, 
like Jacob, I have been vanquished by him. 

Thqs, because the ultimate objective, the totality to which my 
nature is attuned has been made manifest to me, the powers of 
my being begin spontaneously to vibrate in accord with a single 
note of incredible richness wherein I can distinguish the most 
discordant tendencies effortlessly resolved: the excitement of 
action and the delight of passivity: the joy of possessing and the 
thrill of reaching out beyond what one possesses; the pride in 
growing and the happiness of being lost in what is greater than 

Rich with the sap of the world, I rise up towards the Spirit 
whose vesture is the magnificence of the material universe but 
who smiles at me from far beyond all victories; and, lost in the 
mystery of the flesh of God, I cannot tell which is the more 
radiant bliss: to have found the Word and so be able to achieve 
the mastery of matter, or to have mastered matter and so be able 
to attain and submit to the light of God. 

Grant, Lord, that your descent into the universal Species may 
not be for me just something loved and cherished, like the fruit of 
some philosophical speculation, but may become for me truly a 
real Presence. Whether we like it or not by power and by right 
you are incarnate in the world and we are all of us dependent upon 
you. But in fact you are far, and how far, from being equally close 
to us all. We are all of us together carried in the one world- 
womb; yet each of us is our own little microcosm in which the 



Incarnation is wrought independently with degrees of intensity, 
and shades that are incommunicable. And that is why, in our 
prayer at the altar, we ask that the consecration may be brought 
about for us: Ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat . . . 8 If I firmly believe 
that everything around me is the body and blood of the Word, 4 
then for me (and in one sense for me alone) is brought about that 
marvellous 'diaphany' which causes the luminous warmth of a 
single life to be objectively discernible in and to shine forth from 
the depths of every event, every element: whereas if, unhappily, 
my faith should flag, at once the light is quenched and everything 
becomes darkened, everything disintegrates. 

You have come down, Lord, into this day which is now begin- 
ning. But alas, how infinitely different in degree is your presence 
for one and another of us in the events which are now preparing 
and which all of us together will experience! In the very same 
circumstances which are soon to surround me and my fellow- 
men you may be present in small measure, in great measure, more 
and more or not at all. 

Therefore, Lord, that no poison may harm me this day, no 
death destroy me, no wine befuddle me, that in every creature I 
may discover and sense you, I beg you: give me faith. 


If the Fire has come down into the heart of the world it is, in the 
last resort, to lay hold on me and to absorb me. Henceforth I 
cannot be content simply to contemplate it or, by my steadfast 
faith, to intensify its ardency more and more in the world around 
me. What I must do, when I have taken part with all my energies 
in the consecration which causes its flames to leap forth, is to 
consent to the communion which will enable it to find in me the 
food it has come in the last resort to seek. 

So, my God, I prostrate myself before your presence in the 
universe which has now become living flame: beneath the 
lineaments of all that I shall encounter this day, all that happens to 



me, all that I achieve, it is you I desire, you I await. _ 

It is a terrifying thing to have been born: I mean, to find one- 
self, without having willed it, swept irrevocably along on a 
torrent of fearful energy which seems as though it wished to 
destroy everything it carries with it. 

What I want, my God, is that by a reversal offerees which you 
alone can bring about, my terror in face of the nameless changes 
destined to renew my being may be turned into an overflowing 
joy at being transformed into you. 

First of all I shall stretch out my hand unhesitatingly towards the 
fiery bread which you set before me. This bread, in which you 
have planted the seed of all that is to develop in the future, I 
recognize as containing the source and the secret of that destiny 
*fbxx have chosen for me. To take it is, I know, to surrender 
myself to forces which will tear me away painfully from myself 
in order to drive me into danger, into laborious undertakings, 
into a constant renewal of ideas, into an austere detachment 
where my affections are concerned. To eat it is to acquire a taste 
and an affinity for that which in everything is above everything - 
a taste and an affinity which will henceforward make impossible 
for me all the joys by which my life has been warmed. Lord Jesus, 
I am willing to be possessed by you, to be bound to your body and 
led by its inexpressible power towards those solitary heights 
which by myself I should never dare to climb. Instinctively, like 
all mankind, I would rather set up my tent here below on some 
hill-top of my own choosing. I am afraid, too, like all my fellow- 
men, of the future too heavy with mystery and too wholly new, 
towards which time is driving me. Then like these men I wonder 
anxiously where life is leading me . . . May this communion of 
bread with the Christ clothed in the powers which dilate the 
world free me from my timidities and my heedlessness ! In the 
whirlpool of conflicts and energies out of which must develop 
my power to apprehend and experience your holy presence, I 
throw myself, my God, on your word. The man who is filled 
with an impassioned love of Jesus hidden in the forces which 



bring increase to the earth, him the earth will lift up, like a 
mother, in the immensity of her arms, and will enable him to 
contemplate the face of God. 

If your kingdom, my God, were of this world, I could possess 
you simply by surrendering myself to the forces which cause us, 
through suffering and dying, to grow visibly in stature - us or 
that which is dearer to us than ourselves. But because the term 
towards which the earth is moving lies hot merely beyond each 
individual thing but beyond the totality of things; because the 
world travails, not to bring forth from within itself some 
supreme reality, but to find its consummation through a union 
with a pre-existent Being; it follows that man can never reach 
the blazing centre of the universe simply by living more and more 
for himself nor even by spending his life in the service of some 
earthly cause however great. The world can never be definitively 
united with you, Lord, save by a sort of reversal, a turning about, 
an excentration, which must involve the temporary collapse not 
merely of all individual achievements but even of everything 
that looks like an advancement for humanity. If my being is 
ever to be decisively attached to yours, there must first die in me 
not merely the monad ego but also the world: in other words I 
must first pass through an agonizing phase of diminution for 
which no tangible compensation will be given me. That is why, 
pouring into my chalice the bitterness of all separations, of all 
limitations, and of all sterile fallings away, you then hold it out to 
me, 'Drink ye all of this/ 

How could I refuse this chalice, Lord, now that through the 
bread you have given me there has crept into the marrow of my 
being an inextinguishable longing to be united with you beyond 
life; through death? The consecration of the world would have 
remained incomplete, a moment ago, had you not with special 
love vitalized for those who believe, not only the life-bringing 
forces, but also those which bring death. My communion would 
be incomplete - would, quite simply, not be christian - it 
together with the gains which this new day brings me, I did not 



also accept, in my own name and in the name of the world, as the 
most immediate sharing in your own being, those processes, 
hidden or manifest, of enfeeblement, of ageing, of death, which 
unceasingly consume the universe, to its salvation or its con- 
demnation. My God, I deliver myself up with utter abandon to 
those fearful forces of dissolution which, I blindly believe, will 
this day cause my narrow ego to be replaced by your divine 
presence. The man who is filled with an impassioned love for 
Jesus hidden in the forces which bring death to the earth, him the 
earth will clasp in the immensity of her arms as her strength fails, 
and with her he will awaken in the bosom of God. 


Lord Jesus, now that beneath those world-forces you have become 
truly and physically everything for me, everything about me, 
everything within me, I shall gather into a single prayer both 
my delight in what I have and my thirst for what I lack; and 
following the lead of your great servant I shall repeat those 
enflamed words in which, I firmly believe, the Christianity of 
tomorrow will find its increasingly clear portrayal: 

'Lord, lock me up in the deepest depths of your heart; and 
then, holding me there, burn me, purify me, set me on fire, 
sublimate me, till I become utterly what you would have me be, 
through the utter annihilation of my ego.' 

Tu autem, Domine mi 9 include me in imis visceribus Cordis tui. 
Atque ibi me detine f excoque, expurga, accende, ignifac, sublima, ad 
purissimum Cordis tui gustum atque placitum, ad pur am annihilationem 

'Lord.' Yes, at last, through the twofold mystery of this 
universal consecration and communion I have found one to whom 
I can wholeheartedly give this name. As long as I could see - or 
dared to see - in you, Lord Jesus, only the man who lived two 
thousand years ago, the sublime moral teacher, the Friend, the 
Brother, my love remained timid and constrained. Friends, 



brothers, wise men: have we not mady of these around us, great 
souls, chosen souls, and much closer to us? And then can man 
ever give himself utterly to a nature which is purely human? 
Always from the very first it was the world, greater than all the 
elements which make up the world, that I was in love with; and 
never before was there anyone before whcm I could in honesty 
bow down. And so for a long time, even though I believed, I 
strayed, not knowing what it was I loved. But now, Master, 
today, when through the manifestation of those superhuman 
powers with which your resurrection endowed you you shine 
forth from within all the forces of the earth and so become visible 
to me, now I recognize you as my Sovereign, and with delight I 
surrender myself to you. 

How strange, my God, are the processes your Spirit initiates! 
When, two centuries ago* your Church began to feel the par- 
ticular power of your heart, it might have seemed that what was 
captivating men s souls was the fact of their finding in you an 
element even more determinate, more circumscribed, than your 
humanity as a whole. But now on the contrary a swift reversal is 
making us aware that your main purpose in this revealing to us of 
your heart was to enable our love to escape from the constrictions 
of the too narrow, too precise, too limited image of you which 
we had fashioned for ourselves. What I discern in your breast is 
simply a furnace of fire; and the more I fix my gaze on its 
ardency the more it seems to me that all around it the contours of 
your body melt away and become enlarged beyond all measure, 
till the only features I can distinguish in you are those of the face 
of a world which has burst into flame. 

Glorious Lord Christ: the divine influence secretly diffused and 
active in the depths of matter, and the dazzling centre where all 
the innumerable fibres of the multiple meet; power as implacable 
as the world and as warm as life; you whose forehead is of the 
whiteness of snow, whose eyes are of fire, and whose feet are 
brighter than molten gold; you whose hands imprison the stars; 
you who are the first and the last, the living and the dead and the 



risen again; you who gather into your exuberant unity every 
beauty, every affinity, every energy, every mode of existence; 
it is you to whom my being cried out with a desire as vast as the 
universe, 'In truth you are my Lord and my God/ 

'Lord, lock me up within you* : yes indeed I believe - and this 
belief is so strong that it has become one of the supports of my 
inner life - that an 'exterior darkness 9 which was wholly out- 
side you would be pure nothingness. Nothing, Lord Jesus, can 
subsist outside of your flesh; so that even those who have been 
cast out from your love are still, unhappily for them, the bene- 
ficiaries of your presence upholding them in existence. All of us, 
inescapably, exist in you, the universal milieu in which and through 
which all things live and have their being. But precisely because 
we are not self-contained ready-made entities which can be 
conceived equally well as being near to you or remote from you; 
precisely because in us the self-subsistent individual who is united 
to you grows only in so far as the union itself grows, that union 
whereby we are given more and more completely to you: I beg 
you, Lord, in the name of all that is most vital in my being, to 
hearken to the desire of this thing that I dare to call my soul even 
though I realize more and more every day how much greater it 
is than myself, and, to slake my thirst for life, draw me - through 
the successive zones of your deepest substance - into the secret 
recesses of your inmost heart. 

The deeper the level at which one encounters you, Master, the 
more one realizes the universality of your influence. This is the 
criterion by which I can judge at each moment how far I have 
progressed within you. When all the things around me, while 
preserving their own individual contours, their own special 
savours, nevertheless appear to me as animated by a single secret 
spirit and therefore as diffused and intermingled within a single 
element, infinitely close, infinitely remote; and when, locked 
within the jealous intimacy of a divine sanctuary, I yet feel myself 
to be wandering at large in the empyrean of all created beings: 
then I shall know that I am approaching that central point where 



the heart of the world is caught in the descending radiance of the 
heart of God. 

And then, Lord, at that point where all things are set ablaze, 
do you act upon me through the united flames of all those internal 
and external influences which, were I less close to you, would be 
neutral or ambivalent or hostile, but which when animated by an 
Energy quae possit sibi omnia subjicen* become, in the physical 
depths of your heart, the angels of your triumphant activity. 
Through a marvellous combination of your divine magnetism 
with the charm and the inadequacy of creatures, with their 
sweetness and their malice, their disappointing weakness and their 
terrifying power, do you fill my heart alternately with exaltation 
and with distaste; teach it the true meaning of purity: not a 
debilitating separation from all created reality but an impulse 
carrying one through all forms of created beauty; show it the 
true nature of charity: not a sterile fear of doing wrong but a 
vigorous determination that all of us together shall break open the 
doors of life; and give it finally - give it above all - through an 
ever-increasing awareness of your omnipresence, a blessed desire 
to go on advancing, discovering, fashioning and experiencing the 
world so as to penetrate ever further and further into yourself. 

For me, my God, all joy and all achievement, the very purpose 
of my being and all my love of life, all depend on this one basic 
vision of the union between yourself and the universe. Let others, 
fulfilling a function more august than mine, proclaim your 
splendours as pure Spirit; as for me, dominated as I am by a 
vocation which springs from the inmost fibres of my being, I 
have no desire, I have no ability, to proclaim anything except the 
innumerable prolongations of your incarnate Being in the world 
of matter; I can preach only the mystery of your flesh, you the 
Soul shining forth through all that surrounds us. 

It is to your body in this its fullest extension - that is, to the 
world become through your power and my faith the glorious 
living crucible in which everything melts away in order to be 
born anew; it is to this that I dedicate myself with all the resources 



which your creative magnetism has brought forth in me: with 
the all too feeble resources of my scientific knowledge, with my 
religious vows, with my priesthood, and (most dear to me) with 
my deepest human convictions. It is in this dedication, Lord Jesus, 
I desire to live, in this I desire to die. 

Ordos, 1923 

1. There is no confusion here between transubstantiation in the strict sense and the 
universal presence of the Word: as the author states explicitly in The Priest, The tran- 
substantiation is encircled by a halo of divinization - real, even though less intense - that 
extends to the whole universe*. From the cosmic element into which he has entered 
through his incarnation and in which he dwells eucharistically 'the Word is active to 
master and assimilate to himself all that still remains'. {Writings in Time of War, p. 207). 

a. That they [all mankind] should seek God, if haply they may feel after him or find 
him . . .' (Acts 17.27.) 

3. That it may become for us the Body and Blood of your dearly loved Son, our Lord 
Jesus Christ.' 

4. Through the 'physical and overmastering' contact of him whose appanage it is to 
be able omnia sibi subicere ['to subdue all things unto himself!' PhiL 3.21], (Le Milieu Divin, 

P- "4?) 

5. 'Which is able to subdue all things unto itself* 



At the Wedding of Odette Bacot and Jean Teilhard fEyry 

Mademoiselle, my dear Jean, 

When I look at you both here, united for all time, my old pro- 
fessional habits reassert themselves, and I cannot help glancing 
back at the two roads - your two roads - which for so long seemed 
to be independent of one another, but which have suddenly con- 
verged and here and now, in a moment, are about to run as one. 
And you will not be surprised that, presented with a meeting so 
unexpected and yet prepared for so long, I am filled with wonder 
and joy, as though I were witnessing another of life's triumphs. 

Your road, Jean, began far from here, under the heavy clouds 
of the tropics, in the flat paddy-fields enclosed by die blue 
silhouette of Cape Saint-Jacques. It called for nothing less than 
this vigorous mixture of cold Auvergne and the Fsr East worthily 
to continue in you a fearless, far-ranging mother, and that 
legendary 'Uncle Georges' too. When I was only a child, I used 
occasionally to gaze with admiration at his face, beside the already 
white-haired grandmother, in that rather dark, and half-Chinese, 
drawing-room in the Rue Savaron. 

By tradition, and by birth, you are of Asia; and that is why, 
from time to time, you have gone back to Asia to breathe in its 

But what are these journeyings of the heart and mind? Only 
you could draw up that itinerary, the stages and detours through 
which your being had to travel before the emergence in the end, 
of the man you are today. At home, as a young cadet, everywhere 
what influences were at work, what meetings came about, what 
attractions were felt, what choices made! . . . How slender the 
fibres in the web from which our lives are suspended ! 

Finally, having found your way through the shifting labyrinth 
of external and internal forces, you have succeeded in finding your 



soul. In this inner domain (for it is within you much more than 
outside you) to which life has brought you, are you not going to 
find yourself alone and lost ? Men are crowded together and have 
to force their way along our roads, metalled or earthen; even in 
the skies they are already beginning to find themselves cramped. 
But in the thousand times vaster and more complex domain of the 
mind, each one of us, the more he is human (and therefore 
unique), the more he is condemned by his very success to wander, 
endlessly lost. You might well have feared, Jean, that where such 
a succession of chances had driven your ship no other vessel, 
except by some even greater chance, would be found. 

And it was then, Mademoiselle, in that very habitation of souls 
in which it seemed impossible that two beings should find one 
another, that you, like the princess in a fairy story, quite naturally 
appeared. That, among some thousands of human beings, the 
eyes of two individuals should meet is in itself a remarkable and 
precious coincidence: what, then, can we say when it is two 
minds that meet? 

While you, Jean, were engaged in the long circumnavigation 
during which die real core of every living creature - its power to 
love - was maturing within you, you, Mademoiselle, were 
following a different curve, the rhythm of whose approach 
was nevertheless wonderfully harmonized; and so the two of you 
were passing through those successive cycles whose culmination 
we are witnessing here today. 

Through your family origins you, too, blossomed on a stem 
whose roots lie deep in one of France's ancient provinces - 
Touraine instead of Auvergne - which has about it something 
warmer and gentler; and, to crown this, you had that finishing 
touch which only the atmosphere of Paris can give. From your 
childhood you, too, learnt to revere that same historic academy 
and the exact science of honourable warfare. In a circle of three 
children - which included yet another Jacqueline - with an 
exceptional mother, you, too, received that generously liberal up- 
bringing, firmly based on Christian principles, which has given 



so wonderfully harmonious a balance to your development. And 
so it was - with how astonishing a symmetry in your destinies - 
that, without realizing it, you were gradually moving towards 
your meeting with the man who, in equal ignorance, was moving 
towards you. 

I referred, a moment ago, to fairy tales. Who was the fairy who, 
without ever breaking her thread, worked alone to weave today 
into one perfect whole the double web of your two lives? 

Was it only chance that blindly worked this miracle ? Must we 
really resign ourselves to believing that the value of the loveliest 
things around us depends simply on what is unpredictable, 
unusual, and in consequence impermanent, in the confluence of 
the elements from which they seem to us to have emerged? 

True enough, there are days when the world appears to be one 
vast chaos. Great, indeed, is the confusion; so great that if we look 
at ourselves we may very well reel with dizziness at the prospect 
of our very existence. With such heavy odds against us, is it not 
most improbable that we should find ourselves whole and entire, 
and living - as single individuals, let alone as two? We wonder, 
then, whether true wisdom may not consist in holding on to 
every chance that comes our way, and immediately drawing all 
we can from it. It would be madness, surely, to take any further 
risk with the future and to strive after a life that is even more 
improbable because even more elevated. 

For years now, Jean, my work has been such that every day of 
my life has necessarily been lived under the shadow of the 
improbability of life's successes. And once again it is this im- 
probability which I meet today when I look at the happiness of 
both of you together. 

So: since you have asked me to speak today, allow me to tell 
you what, after a long confrontation with the splendid reality 
of the world, is my dearest and most profound conviction. I 
began, like everyone else, by being impressed by the superior 
importance, among events, that must be accorded to what comes 
lower down the scale, and to the past. Then, unless I was to 



cease to understand anything that goes on within me or around 
me, I was obliged to shift my point of view and accord absolute 
supremacy to the future and the greater. 

No, I believe what gives the universe around us its consistence 
is not the apparent solidity of the ephemeral materials from which 
bodies are made. Rather is it the flame of organic development 
which has been running through the world since the beginning 
of time, constantly building itself up. With all its weight behind it, 
the world is being impelled upon a centre which lies ahead of it. 
Far from being impermanent and accidental, it is souls, and 
alliances of souk, it is the energies of souls, that alone progress 
infallibly, and it is they alone that will endure. 

What is imponderable in the world is greater than what we can 

What radiates from living beings is more valuable than their 

What has not yet come is more precious than what is already 

That is why what I want to say to you now, Jean - what I want 
to say to both of you - is this: 

If you want, if both of you want, to answer the summons (or 
respond to the grace, for that is the better word) which comes to 
you today from God-animated life, then take your stand con- 
fidently and unhesitatingly on tangible matter; take that as an 
indispensable bulwark - but, through and above that matter, 
put your faith in the bulwark of the intangible/ 

Put your faith in the spirit that lies behind you; by that I mean 
the long series of unions similar to your own which throughout 
the ages have accumulated, to pass on to you, a great store of 
healthy vigour, of wisdom and of freedom. Today this treasure is 
entrusted to your keeping. Remember that you are responsible 
for it to God and the universe. 

Put your faith, then, in the spirit that lies ahead of you. Creation 
never comes to a halt. It is through you two that life seeks to 
prolong itself. Your union, therefore, must not be a self-enclosed 



embrace; let it express itself in that deliberate act, infinitely more 
unifying than any inactivity, which consists in an effort directed 
towards one and the same, ever-greater, passionately loved, goal. 

And finally, in a phrase that sums up all the rest, put your faith 
in the spirit which dwells between die two of you. You have 
each offered yourself to the other as a boundless field of under* 
standing, of enrichment, of mutually increased sensibility. You 
will meet above all by entering into and constantly sharing one 
another's thoughts, affections, dreams and prayer. There alone, 
as you know, in spirit which is arrived at through the flesh, you 
will find no surfeit, no disappointments, no limits. There alone 
the skies are ever open for your love; there alone lies the great 
road ahead. 

At this very moment can you not fed this spirit, to which I am 
urging you, concentrating upon you; can you not feel its mantle 
spread over you? 

The united love of so many kinsfolk and friends gathered 
together, the warmth and purity of wishes transmitted, through 
some subtle medium, from Auvergne, from Touraine or Poitou, 
and from the Cote d' Argent, too; the blessings sent by those 
whom we no longer see; and above all the infinite tenderness of 
Him who sees in you two, forming one, the welding of one 
more precious link in his great work of creative union. 

In very truth, grander than the external, material ceremonial 
which surrounds and honours you, it is the accumulated forces of 
an invisible loving-kindness which fill this church. 

I pray that this spiritual ardour may come down upon your 
nascent love, and preserve it for eternal life. Amen. 

14 June 1928 

At the Wedding ofM. and Mme de la Goublaye de Minorval 

Mademoiselle, Monsieur, 

At this moment, when your two lives are being made one in 
this chapel, I can think of nothing more appropriate nor more 
valuable to offer you than a few words in praise of unity. 



Unity: an abstract term, maybe, in which philosophers delight; 
and yet it is primarily a very concrete quality with which we all 
dream of endowing our works and the world around us. To the 
apparent fragmentation of material elements, to nature's capricious 
movements, to the irregularity of colour and sound, to the 
busy confusion of the masses of mankind, and the undisciplined 
vacillations of our aspirations and thoughts - what is it that, 
through all that is best in our activities, we are trying to do, if not 
constantly to introduce a little more unity? Science, art, politics, 
ethics, thought, mysticism: these are so many different forms of 
one and the same impulse towards the creation of some harmony; 
and in that impulse is expressed, through the medium of our 
human activities, the destiny and, I would even say, the very 
essence of the universe. Happiness, power, wealth, wisdom, 
holiness: these are all synonyms for a victory over the many. At 
the heart of every being lies creation s dream of a principle which 
will one day give organic form to its fragmented treasures. God is 

What conscious line of action, then, will enable us to pursue and 
attain this divine unity? 

Will it, perhaps, be attained by each one of us setting himself 
up at the heart of his own little world as an exclusive centre of 
domination and enjoyment? Does our happiness lie in relating 
to ourselves, to the greatest possible degree, all that lies outside us ? 
Shall we be happy only if we each become our own little god ? 

That you two should be here today, bride and bridegroom, 
shows how completely you have been untouched by this illusion 
of the self as centre. One of the most pernicious hallucinations 
that life meets as it awakes to intelligence is the closed concentra- 
tion of the element on itself; and by this you have not been 
misled. You have seen that the being in each one of us does not 
contain its own final pole; it represents a particle which is 
destined to be incorporated in higher syntheses. Your example 
shows us not the unity of isolation - but the unity of union. 

It is the unity of union that you have chosen; and you have 



chosen well. But this higher unity which is promised to the 
elements which seek for one another in a common principle that 
brings them together - how precisely can that unity reach its 
perfection in you two ? How, being two, will you be more truly 
one ? The question brings me to the very point I want to deal with 
in these few words; and my answer is: 'By never relaxing your 
effort to become more yourselves by the giving of yourselves/ 

Because union brings fulfilment, it can appear to be a final 
term, a resting-place. In fact, nothing has a greater share of life's 
incessantly progressive nature. If the elements are to be able to 
coalesce, they must spend a long time in first developing in 
themselves those complementary values which can combine with 
one another. And when at last the elements meet, they still cannot 
link up with one another except by advancing continually 
further along the line of their own fulfilment. True union, as it 
brings together, so, and precisely so, it differentiates. It is a con- 
tinual discovery and a continual conquest. 

Perhaps my language is a little ponderous, but it is in those 
terms that I look for an explanation of your past, and of the 
promise that the future holds for you. 

Your past . . . When we look at you, Mademoiselle, in this 
festive setting - we, your friends, who have so often seen you 
deep in the study of rocks or maps, we who have followed you 
in our thoughts through distant and dangerous expeditions - we 
might well have a vague feeling that your life has gone off at a 
tangent, and that you have become a different woman. 'What was 
the good of conquering this, in order finally to choose that? And 
the right answer to our question is, 'What is the good of this 
except as a preparation for that? Never, Mademoiselle, never - 
should you, impossible thought it be, ever be so tempted - 
regret those long hours in the laboratory, all the careful work 
that went into those lengthy reports, those strenuous journeys 
through the forests of Madagascar. During these adventures of 
mind and body, were you not developing in yourself the perfect 
companion for a man who himself- for this is true of you, the 



bridegroom, too, is it not? - belongs to the race of those who 
work for the earth and explore its secrets ? It took life millions of 
years to mould, in the work of creation, the heart and mind that 
your mother passed on to you, Mademoiselle. And it still called 
for all the work and all the hazards of your early youth to perfect 
in you a being with the capacity to give its self. 

And now that same law of which I was speaking, which 
required that each of you should, alone, make ready for union, is 
again waiting for you to complete one another, each through the 
other, in union. What will be the never-ended story of your 
mutual conquest? This is known to God alone, who is about to 
bless you. But for my part, I can, on the authority of all human 
experience, assure you of this: that your happiness will depend 
on the width of the field you allow to your hopes. An affection 
that is narrowly closed in one itself stifles body and soul. If you 
are to ensure die uninterrupted progress that is essential to die 
fruitfulness of your union, you must extend still further the 
horizons that have bounded the years of your development. 

You will be happy, happy as our prayers and wishes would 
have you be, only if your two lives come together and extend 
each other, boldly launching themselves upon the future in a 
passionate drive towards one greater than yourselves. 

15 June 1935 



When Pfcre Teilhard sent me a copy of this statement, he wrote as 
follows: 'I enclose a copy of a sheet I have just sent to a colleague in 
Namur, who asked me to let him have (for a book he is bringing out) a 
statement of my point of view/ (J.M.) 

In its essence, the thought of Pfcre Teilhard de Chardin is expressed 
not in a metaphysics but in a sort of phenomenology. 

A certain law of recurrence, underlying and dominating all 
experience, he thinks, forces itself on our attention. It is the law of 
complexity-consciousness, by which, within life, the stuff of the 
cosmos folds in upon itself continually more closely, following a 
process of organization whose measure is a corresponding increase 
of tension (or psychic temperature). In the field of our observation, 
reflective man represents the highest term attained by an element 
in this process of organization. 

Above individual man, however, this involution is carried 
further, in mankind, by the social phenomenon, at the term of 
which can be discerned a higher critical point of collective 

From this point of view 'hominization (including socializa- 
tion) is a convergent phenomenon: in other words it displays an 
upper limit or internal point of maturity. At the same time this 
convergent phenomenon is also, in virtue of its structure, irreversible 
in nature: in this sense, that Evolution having become reflective 
and free, in man, it can no longer continue its ascent towards 
complexity-consciousness unless it realizes two things about 
Vital involution* - that, looking ahead, it escapes annihilation or 
total death, and, what is more, that it gathers together all that can 
be permanently saved of the essence of what life will have 



engendered in the course of its progress. This demand for 
irreversibility has a structural implication, the existence, at the 
upper term of cosmic convergence, of a transcendent centre of 
unification, 'Omega Point*. Unless this focus-point, which 
gathers things together and ensures their irreversibility, does in 
fact exist, the law of evolutionary recurrence cannot hold good 
to the very end. 

It is upon this 'Physics' that, in a 'second phase', P&re Teilhard 
builds first an apologetics: under the illuminating influence of 
Grace, our minds recognize in the unifying properties of the 
Christian phenomenon a manifestation (or a reflection) of Omega 
upon human consciousness, and so identify the Omega of reason 
with the Universal Christ of revelation. 

It is upon this Physics that P&re Teilhard simultaneously builds 
up, secondly, a Mysticism: 

The whole of Evolution being reduced to a process of union 
(communion) with God, it becomes, in its totality, loving and 
lovable in the innermost and most ultimate of its developments. 

Taken together the three branches of the system (physics, 
apologetics and mysticism) suggest and readily lend themselves to 
forming an outline of a Metaphysics of Union, dominated by 
love, in which even the Problem of Evil is given an acceptable 
intellectual solution (the statistical necessity of disorders within a 
multitude in process of organization). 

This 'philosophy 9 has been criticized as being no more than a 
generalized Concordism. To this Pere Teilhard answers that 
concordism and coherence should not be confused. Religion 
and science obviously represent two different meridians on the 
mental sphere, and it would be wrong not to keep them separate 
(that is the concordist mistake); but these meridians must 
necessarily meet somewhere at a pole of common vision (that is, 
coherence). Otherwise all that is ours in the domain of thought 
and knowledge collapses. 

New York, April, 1948 



There is no serious lack of instruction in Prehistory in France. 1 
We have the Institut de Paliontologie Humane (which provides the 
fullest courses); the Sorbonne's Institut d'Etknohgie (now, I 
understand, being re-organized), and the Institut de I'Homme 
(particularly for Ethnology and Linguistics). On the whole, 
however, instruction in this subject is still peripheral*. There are 
no examinations and courses are designed to produce amateurs 
rather than real scientists; there are no professional chairs, and no 
certificates that count for much. Things are better in England 
(Cambridge, in particular) and America (Harvard, Colum- 
bia . . .) 

Simply from this point of view the creation of a chair of Pre- 
history in the College de France would certainly be of special 
value, for it would raise the importance and standing of this 
branch of knowledge. 

But there is a further, and quite different, consideration. 

Even abroad, and in the best equipped Universities, we still 
find in the teaching of Prehistory a tendency to study human 
problems piecemeal, 4 scrappily': a series of scattered details 
(stratigraphic, osteological, archaeological, ethnographic . . .) 
in which the main lines of the phenomenon lose their sharpness. - 
So far as I know, there are no courses offered anywhere in which 
the background, the structure ; and the foil expansion (followed by 
compression upon itself) of the human zoological group, considered 
as one whole, are taken as subjects for technical study: starting, of 
course, from precise facts, but examining also the main features of 
their general disposition and development 

It is, I believe, in this still new direction that it would be 



gratifying to see the College de France make an experiment that 
I would be disposed to try out : starting with human palaeontology 
and palaeo-sociology - using them as a foundation or platform - 
to sketch out the first outlines of a science of Anthropogenesis - 
the higher reaches, as yet imperfecdy charted, of Biology. 

Paris, 23 September 1948 

1. This note, addressed to Monsieur Paul Fallot, Professor of Mediterranean Geology at 
the College de France, was written by Pere Teilhard when he was invited to fill the chair 
just vacated by the Abbe* Breuil on reaching the age for retirement. 



1. For the last forty yean my attitude and my activities have 
been based on the threefold, ever stronger, conviction: 1 

a. First, that (for many irresistible reasons) we have just 
entered historically a period of neo-humanism (characterized by 
the surmise, or even the acceptance as proved, that Man is far 
from having completed the biological curve of his growth - which 
means that he has not only a future in time, but also a future* to 
look forward to). 

b. Secondly, that the conflict - only an apparent conflict - 
between this neo-humanism and the 'classic* formulation of 
Christianity is the underlying source of all today's religious 

c. Finally, that the synthesis "in Christo Jesu between the 
ascensional force of traditional Christianity and the propulsive 
force of modern neo-humanism is what our world, albeit con- 
fusedly, looks to for its salvation (and the Society of Jesus, 
incidentally, has once again exactly the same role in this situation, 
but at a higher stage, as it had 400 years ago when it was con- 
fronted by the Humanism of the Renaissance). 

2. Neither in my book (The Phenomenon of Man), nor, should 
occasion arise, in my lectures (at the College de France, or in 
America) do I explicitly treat of (or propose to treat of) this 
fundamental religious problem. Both in writing and teaching, my 
aim is simply and solely to present objectively (without reference 
to philosophy or theology) the experiential foundations and 
prospects of what I have just referred to as contemporary neo- 
humanism. In such a presentation I see the following advantages: 

a. Show, by example, that a Christian (and even a religious) 



can (or even, logically, must) be as fully 'human' as a Marxist. 
'Plus et ego../ 

b. Establish on rational grounds (apart from any a priori 
assumptions), that the neo-humanist point of view - seen against 
its historical background - must accept the primacy of Spirit if 
there is to be a 'biological 9 justification for Mankind's further 
progress ahead. 

c. Support and disseminate a 'phenomenal 9 view of the 
Universe which seems to me not only true, but vital to Modern 
Man's spiritual progress : by which I mean that it is in the context 
and scale of a World in process of convergence that (to my mind) 
Christianity can find the best psychological and intellectual 
climate for its future developments. 

Nobody dreams of blaming Canon Lemaitre for speaking of an 
'expanding Universe' (spatially). For my part, I am doing no more 
than putting forward die complementary picture of a Universe 
'that folds in (organically, that is physico-chemically and psy- 
chically) upon itself '. Neither of us introduces philosophy or 
theology. But what we have here, as P£guy would have said, 
is a 'porch' which for many of our contemporaries, I believe, 
provides a way into the Church. 8 

Rome, 7 October 1948 

1. Written for Reverend Father Janssens, General of the Society of Jesus. (Ed's note.) 

2. See the popularity, both in Europe and America, of Leconte de Noiiy's book, La 
Destinie humaine, sketchy though it is. 



For a correct understanding of what is said, and what is not said, 
in The Phenomenon of Man, it should be noted that the book 
represents only the beginnings of a pendulum-like 'dialectic' 
whose stages may be defined as follows: 

i. Observation of the Phenomenal World. Perception, purely 
experiential, of an infolding movement ('evolution 9 ) which 
causes the successive emergence of beings that are progressively 
more complicated organically and more centred psychically. - 
With Reflection (Man) the appearance of the need for irreversi- 
bility (for 'immortality') which postulates, if Evolution is to 
continue, the existence of a centre (super-personal and partially 
transcendent) of consistence: 'Omega'. 

2. Re-descent, starting from Omega. Once the existence of Omega 
is accepted, our minds have to accept two consequences: 

a. First, that Evolution must be interpreted as a pull from above 
(and not merely as an immanent push). 

b. Secondly, that an influence, by nature personal and free, 
emanating from Omega (Revelation) is not only possible but to 
be expected. - In the light of this, the significant value of the 
Christian Fact (or phenomenon). 

3* Perception (recognition), under the sensitizing influence of 
grace, of a Revelation in the Christian fact 

4. In the light of Revelation, definitive vision of the World and 
of Evolution in terms of Incarnation and Redemption. 



It will be seen that my book covers only stages 1-2 of the dia- 
lectical process; that is, it confines itself strictly to the first phase 
of the Vatican Council (rational demonstration of the existence 
of God). - As concerns the dialectic itself, it will be noted that it is 
precisely classical apologetics - but (in conformity with modern 
views) transposed from a static Universe to a Universe in move- 
ment - from a Cosmos to a Cosmogenesis. 

Rome, 17 October 1948 

z. Addressed to Reverend Father Janssens, General of the Society of Jesus, when Pete 
Teilhard was in Rome, to ask for permission to publish The Phenomenon of Mm. 


At the Wedding of Christine Dresch and Claude-Marie Haardt 

My dear Christine, my dear Claude, 

Life is indeed, full of strange coincidences and, perhaps, strange 
designs. As Christmas was approaching in the year 1932, when I 
was accompanying Georges-Marie Haardt on a journey across the 
deserts of Central Asia, who would have guessed that sixteen 
years later it would fall to me to address these words to you, as you 
in your turn are about to set out on another great adventure, that 
of your two combined lives ? And since the coincidence probably 
disguises a secret design of destiny, may not this plan contained in 
material things (or worked out by Providence) be that I should 
pass on to you both - and more particularly to you, my dear 
Claude, in the presence of the mother to whom you owe so much 
- the admonition, the watchword, that your father, that great 
inspirer and great traveller, continually offered us by his example, 
mile after mile over the tracks of Asia, as he urged us to press on 
and keep our eyes fixed on the peaks that towered ahead of us? 

He crossed the Sahara, he crossed Africa and China; and these 
undertakings, each with its different problems, were all (as is 



every living reality) built upon a solid material structure. Each 
was carefully worked out with an eye to a precise end. And yet, 
beyond any economic goal, it was always towards some sort of 
distantly envisaged dream that the fleet of trucks and half-tracks 
followed him as their leader across the sand. For those who were 
privileged to take part, these expeditions were always to some 
extent, and will always remain in their memories, the following 
of a guiding star ... 

My dear Christine, my dear Claude, now that your turn has 
come, do you too, imitating you father's grand demeanour in a 
different sphere, enter into life with your feet firmly on the ground 
but your eyes fixed on what is greater and finer than you. The 
temptation which besets love, you know, and makes it barren, is 
to rest upon what is possessed - it is a shared selfishness. To 
find one another, and to be truly made one, you must seek no 
other road but that of a strong passion for a common ideal. 
Between the two of you (and here the very structure of the world 
forces upon you a law that cannot be broken) - between the two 
of you, remember, no unblemished union can exist except in 
some higher centre which brings you together. 

May that centre soon be the child ! 

And, come what may, may that centre be the excitement and 
joy of each discovering and completing the other, ever more fully, 
in heart and mind! 

And, above all, may that centre in one way or another (depend- 
ing on what is your own particular way) be the God before whom 
and in whom you are on the point of uniting your two lives for 
ever: God, the only definitive centre of the universe; not the 
distant God of common formulas, but God in the form in which 
he must, and strives to, show himself incommunicably to you if 
only you surrender unconditionally to the inner force which is at 
this moment operating to bring you together. 

21 December 1948 



On the occasion of his election to the Acadimie des Sciences Pfere Teil- 
hard was asked by the editor of Etudes to let him have a curriculum vitae 
for publication in his review. The following is what P£re Teilhard 

Pere Teilhard, who has just been elected to the Acadimie des 
Sciences, i$ an old and faithful contributor to this review. Readers 
of Etudes will accordingly like to know the main lines of the new 
Academician's scientific career. 

Like every true natural scientist, the young Pierre felt himself 
drawn even as a small child to the things of Life and Earth. The 
hereditary effect of genes, or the influence of the mountains of 
Auvergne? - who could say? - but so strong was it that his 
classical teacher, the future Academician Henri Bremond had 
occasion in one of his books to deplore his pupil's blindness to 
the charms of literature. Later, Bremond's disciple was to show 
that he could write. Meanwhile, his mind was elsewhere, - with 
the rocks. And this was probably the result of some deep-rooted 
instinct; for, oddly enough, it was precisely from a starting point 
in the Mineral that Pere Teilhard, following a clearly defined 
psychological spiral, was one day to emerge decisively and per- 
manently into ardent study of the Human - nay, of the ultra- 
Human ... 

In spite of the passionate tenacity of his scientific appetites, and 
notwithstanding a series of lucky finds (first in the eruptive rocks 
of Jersey, then in the calcareous rocks of the Mokattam Hills - 
when he was in Cairo - and later in the Wealden clays of Sussex) 
there was for a long time nothing to suggest that the young 



jr eologist was one day to emerge from the ranks of the "amateurs 9 . 
But then there came a series of unexpected events: first a two- 
year spell at the Palaeontological Laboratory of the Natural 
History Museum in Paris, where the great Marcellin Boule was at 
that very time engaged in studying the celebrated La Chapelle- 
aux-Saints Man; then, after the war, appointment to a lectureship 
in Geology at the Institut Catholique de Paris. It was these that 
finally decided Pere Teilhard to complete his academic training, 
and they had the further permanent effect of introducing him into 
the more elevated circle of professional Geologists. 

It was only then (1923) that the event occurred which was to 
decide his fate. Out of the blue came an invitation ftpm, China, 
suggesting that he join Pere Emile Licent in his bold explorations 
of the basin of the Yellow River. Until that time, Teilhard had 
been profoundly conscious of the attraction of the Earth and its 
phenomena, but he had not fully realized their size. This was to 
be revealed to him by Asia. During die first ten years of his 
'Chinese life* - sometimes at the quiet jog-trot of the mules of 
Shansi - or at the majestic rumble of the Citroen half-tracks (the 
'Yellow Expedition') - or speeding in th6 American Dodges 
(Roy Chapman Andrews's Central Asiatic Expedition) - from 
Shantung to the Pamir, and from the Khingan mountains to Indo- 
China - during all this time it was the mind-compelling history 
of an entire Continent that was gradually to be unfolded before 
the eyes o f the traveller : a history written initially in the foldings 
and granitization of the ancient continental mass, but to be read 
with equal clarity in the formation of the astonishing sheet of red 
and yellow earths spread, during the Tertiary, over the vast 
undulations of the ancient peneplains. But also, and above all, 
a history laid bare in the existence of vast faunal complexes, 
whose establishment and evolution can be followed in one 
single line at one and the same place, to a depth of several millions 
of years, from the Miocene to the present day. 

Nothing could have fitted in more aptly for our geologist- 
palaeontologist, now in his fiftieth year, than this awakening; 



it helped him to meet the most decisive event of his career - by 
which we mean his share (in his capacity of adviser to the 
Geological Survey of China) in the quite unexpected discovery 
of the famous Peking-Man^(Sinanthropus). Correct dating and 
interpretation of this sensationally new fossil Man called for a 
thorough and up-to-date stratigraphic, physiographic and 
palaeontological examination of the whole Quaternary age in the 
Far East. It was to this central problem that P&re Teilhard decided 
to devote the full maturity of his experience for the last fifteen 
years of his time in the Far East; and (with the massive help of 
various American Foundations and Universities) its ramifications 
were to take him in turn to India, to Burma and Java: these 
far-ranging researches (conducted in close co-operation with 
those of a team of Chinese, American, English and Dutch friends) 
leading him to suspect the individuality (both morphological and 
geographic) of a 'pithecanthropic branch that appeared during 
the Pleistocene on the eastern extremity of the main body of 

Slowly, then, his intimate contact with facts brought about a 
gradual combination of the two linked notions of the genetic 
structure of fauna and the genetic structure of continents; this 
ultimately forced the geologist to accept a third notion, that of the 
genetic structure of Mankind, this latter being envisaged as a 
biological unit sui generis, of planetary dimensions. Here there 
was a move into an area that is still obscure and only now being 
opened up' to tentative exploration: but a fascinating area on 
which, in a final phase, the whole scientific effort of the new 
Academician will no doubt in future be concentrated. 

Etudes, July-August 1950 



(How can one go beyond a philosophico-juridico-literary 
'anthropology 9 and establish a true Science of Man : an Anthropo- 
dynamics and an Anthropogenesis ?) 

An initial double observation: 

I. Man (the Human) is coming to be seen experientially as, 
ever more clearly, the extreme, and in consequence die supremely 
characteristic, state of the 'WeltstofT in die direction of the 

a. But he is still treated as a sort of world apart, in juxtaposition 
with, but not as an extension o£ the Universe of Science. 

We must therefore: 

a. attach the Human (Man-as-element and social Man) to a 
general process that covers all the experiential Arrangement of the 

b. determine the possible extensions of the process in the direc- 
tion of some 'ultra-human. 

c. discover and define the energetical conditions of this movement 
- which involves a scientific re-thinking of the series: 

Quantity (measurable) of energy absorbed by Hominization. 

Arrangement of the Energy of Hominization. 

Activation (of the arrangement) of the Energy of Hominization. 

In short, we need a generalized Physics or Energetics, capable of 
integrating into itself both an Anthropo-dynamics and an 

N.B. American moves (John Stewart, P. Bridgman) to construct 
a Sociometry (by mathematical research into statistical constants in 



die Phenomenon of Man). 

This experiment should be completed by an attempt to estab- 
lish a Sociodynamics investigating the conditions under which 
human energies are activated and function. 

In practical terms: advantage of a symposium, with restricted 
membership, composed exclusively of physicists, astrophysicists, 
chemists, biologists and geo-palaeontologists interested in the 
Phenomenon of Man. 

Note written for Jacques Rueflf, June 1954. 





This document was written by P&re Teilhard in September 1948, for 
the attention of the Director of the College de France, when he was 
offered the chair of Palaeontology, left vacant by the Abb£ BreuiTs 
retirement on reaching the age limit. In deference to his religious 
superiors, Teilhard was obliged to decline the offer. He was elected a 
resident Member of the Institute (Acad&nie des Sciences) in May 

Docteur-&s-Sciences, 1922 

President of the Soci£t£ G£ologique de France, 1922-3 

Professor of Geology at the Institut Catholique de Paris, 1922-8 

Adviser to the National Geological Survey of China, since 1929 

Director of the Laboratoire de G&>logie appliqu^e i l'Homme(Haute»- 

Etudes), since 1938 
Director of Research at the Recherche Nationale scientifique, since 

Corresponding Member of the Institut (Academic des Sciences), since 

Officier of the Legion d'Honneur - M&laille militaire. 


In a life during which unexpected events have constantly obliged 
me to shuttle between East and West, the three following phases 
may be distinguished: 

* For the bibliography, drawn op by Teilhard in September 1948, to which the 
numbers in the document refer, see below, pp. 253-61. 



a. Phase of Preliminary Field-work 

In the Channel Islands (Jersey, 1 901-5); Egypt (Cairo, 1905-8); 
England (Sussex Weald, 1908-12). Apart from some Notes (not 
mentioned in the Bibliography) published by the Sociiti Jersiaise 
(on the Mineralogy of the Island of Jersey) or in the Bulletin of 
the Scientific Society of Cairo (on die Eocene in Upper Egypt) 
the chief result of these first researches was to provide specimens 
and observations (numerous new species) for eminent geologists 
or palaeontologists, such as Rene Fourtou, Sir Arthur Smith- 
Woodward, Professor Seward, etc. 

b. Phase ofPalaeontological Researches in Europe (1912-2$ 
During this second period, spent mainly (except for the war years) 
at the National Museum's Palaeontological Laboratory (Paris), 
my work was particularly directed to the palaeontology of 
Mammals of the Middle and Lower Tertiary in Europe: first 
making use of older material, not as yet studied, relating to the 
Phosphorites of Le Quercy, the Sparnacian of Epernay, and the 
Palaeocene of Rheims; then, later, describing completely new 
(microfaunal) material collected in the Sparnacian of Belgium 
(Orsmael) under the direction of Professor Louis Dollo. At the 
same time, daily and particularly friendly contact with Marcellin 
Boule gradually initiated me into the study of human palaeon- 

c. Phase of Exploration in Eastern Asia (1923-45) 

From 1923 onwards almost the whole of my time and activities 
was taken up by work in the Far East: either in association with 
P&re Emile Licent; or as adviser to the Geological Survey of 
China; or as a member of various expeditions: the Central Asiatic 
Expedition (Roy Chapman Andrews Expedition) of the Ameri- 
can Museum of Natural History (1930); the Haardt-Citroen 
Expedition (193 1-2); the Yale-Cambridge Expedition in north- 
ern and central India (1935-6); the Harvard-Carnegie Ex- 
pedition in Burma (1937-8). During these numerous journeys - 



to which should be added a scientific mission in French Somaliland 
and the Harrar (1928-9) -my researches were divided, as might be 
expected, over a large number of different subjects, ranging from 
tectonics and physiography to Palaeontology and Prehistory - 
always, however, as I shall be showing, with a more clearly 
marked tendency to concentrate on the scientific study of human 


In listing the most notable results obtained from the researches, 
European and extra-European, mentioned above, a distinction 
should be made between scientific contributions relating (1) to 
general Geology; (2) to the Palaeontology of Mammals; and 
finally (3) to human Palaeontology and Prehistory. 

1. General Geology 

Thanks to the many expeditions I have had the honour of joining 
in the Far East, I have been accorded the unusual opportunity of 
being enabled to carry out, step by step (and following a number 
of different lines) (a) a complete geological section running East- 
West, from the edge of Shantung to the borders of Pamir ; and (b) 
another North-South section, almost as complete, running down 
from Manchuria (Harbin) to the frontier of Indo-China. In these 
two general directions, most of the geological routes I noted 
concerned areas that were until then completely unknown to 
Science (Wei-Chang, the Great Khingan Mountains, Ordos, 
Western Gobi, the Tsinling range, Pei-Shan etc. ; cf. Bibliography 
15, 24, 61, 69, 80, 95). This, of course, provided a considerable 
number of new facts for geologists (chain of Quaternary vol- 
canoes at the Dalai-Nor, Oligocenc of the Ordos, sunken Eocene 
basins of the Tsinling range, etc.); at the same time, so far as I 
was personally concerned, they made it possible for me to develop 
certain very general views on the NW-SE migration of granites 



and conglomerates inside the area studied; and that enabled me 
finally to put forward certain views relating to the flexured 
structure of Eastern Asia, with possible consequences supporting 
the idea of an expansion of Continents by granitization. (84, 101, 
107, 112, 124.) 

In a less ambitious and purely stratigraphic field, die most 
important part of my geological work in China will no doubt 
prove to have been the analysis of the massive sheet of terrigenous 
deposits (silts and loess) in which the Cenozoic ends in the basin of 
the Hwang-ho. As a result of close scrutiny of certain lithological 
characteristics (rubefaction and concretion) of die fossil soils; 
and also by establishing the stratigraphic succession of the Mole 
Rats or Siphnaea (see below), a whole series of new stratigraphic 
terms, intercalated between the Red Earths (Pontian) and die 
Yellows (Upper Pleistocene) of Richthofen - each, moreover, 
with its corresponding lacustrine fades - have gradually been 
identified by me, or through my influence, in Northern China. 
(34* 3 6 > 50, 72.) And it was from this solid foundation that I was 
able later to attempt (73, 108) a general synchronism of die 
Pontian and post-Pontian formations of Northern China with 
those of Central and Southern China - and even, further afield, 
with those of Northern India, Burma and Malaysia (see below). 

2. Palaeontology of Mammals 

To return to my first studies in Palaeontology, pursued in Europe 
on European material, I have hopes that these may have con- 
tributed to (a) a better arrangement of the whole of our knowl- 
edge of the Sparnacian fauna and the Palaeocene of France, 
Belgium and England (4, 31); (b) clarification of the particularly 
intricate complex of the Eocene and Oligocene Carnivores in the 
Phosphorites of Le Quercy (3); (c) finally, to bringing out the 
individuality and importance of certain little-known zoological 
groups, such as that of the curious Chiromyids (4, 3 1). 



Circumstances, however, were such that my initial taste for 
die archaic or primitive forms of the Lower Tertiary gradually 
gave way to the increasing necessity (and desire) to study ever 
more closely and exclusively the relatively recent fossil species 
from which the modern fauna of Eastern Asia are directly derived. 
Apart, in fact, from one paper (26) on the Oligocene of die Ordos, 
it can be said that all my palaeontological work from 1923 on* 
wards has been devoted to gradually reconstructing the post- 
Pontian history of the Mammals of Northern China: fauna of the 
Middle Pliocene (Yushe basin, in Shan-si - 96, 97, 100); Villa* 
franchian fauna (Nihowan beds in Hopei - 53, 106 . . .); fauna 
of the Lower Pleistocene Choukoutien fissures - 89, 109 . . .); 
fauna of the Upper Pleistocene (Shara-ossogol beds - 43); a 
'resurrection 9 which is not only faunal but also ecological, 
climatic and physiographical, since the collection of fossil forms 
and their distribution according to age were necessarily closely 
associated with the study of sedimentary cycles and the analysis of 
the fades in each newly explored basin. 

Thus there was gradually built up a stratigraphic and faunal 
framework that was indispensable to the progress of the far- 
reaching investigations carried out at precisely die same time, as 
we shall see, by the Geological Survey of China, in human 
Palaeontology. Simultaneously, moreover, a certain number of 
quite general biological laws or characteristics were emerging 
from the reconstructed evolution of Chinese fauna - and these 
threw a new light on the existence and the rhythms <of change of 
collective organic movements within the Biosphere: 

a. Initial proliferation of Pontian Mustelids - oddly reminiscent 
of that of the Oligocene Cynodictis and Cynodon in the Phos- 
phorites of Le Quercy (119). 

b. Development in Northern China, during the Pliocene, of a 
fauna of strepsiceral antelopes, exactly parallel to and yet not 
directly attachable to, that of the antelopes of Africa (ioo). 

c. Remarkable orthogenesis of the Siphnaea (Mole Rats), 



allowing continuous observation, from the Pontian to our own 
day, of one and the same perfectly defined series of osteological 
and dental modifications (fusion of the cervical vertebrae, loss 
of roots in the molariform teeth, increase in size . . .), which 
occur simultaneously in the various exceptionally well-defined 
branches of the same strictly limited zoological group (in). 

And so on. 

Thanks to the richness and the continuity of the fauna thus dug 
up, it becomes possible (as I have shown, in collaboration with 
my colleague Pierre Leroy in the case of the felids and mustelids) 
to follow, down from the Pontian, the introduction, adaptation 
and modifications on the spot, of a large part of the present-day 
fauna of China: one of the first attempts ever made, if I am not 
mistaken, to construct a zoology which no longer proposes 
to differentiate between living and extinct forms in die same 

3. Human Palaeontology 

Prolonged contact with eruptive and sedimentary formations, 
all adding to the importance for me of a stratigraphy of soils and 
of a geology of Continents - opportunities before long of study- 
ing certain particularly ancient and particularly well preserved 
Primate fossils (3, 4, 31) - the initial atmosphere of a Laboratory 
in which every day I could watch the preparation and examina- 
tion of the La Chapelle-aux-Saints and La Feyrassie skeletons - all 
these factors, not to mention the intrinsic fascination of the sub- 
ject itself, converged from the beginning to direct me gradually 
and increasingly towards the problems of fossil Man and the 
search for him. 

My first stroke of good fortune in this field of human palaeon- 
tological excavation came in 1923, when, with Emile Licent, I 
was able to establish the hitherto contested existence of a 
Palaeolithic Man in Northern China (43). But the second, and die 
most decisive, was certainly my being enabled for nearly ten 



years (1929-37) to collaborate very closely in the great excavations 
at Choukoutien, near Peking, and the discovery of Sinanthropus. 

In this collective work, which was conducted by the combined 
resources of the Rockefeller Foundation and the Geological 
Survey of China, my function was primarily to direct the strati- 
graphic, palaeontological and archaeological study of the site 
(45» 6S» 73t 108): a task of some difficulty, since six different 
types of fissures, corresponding to as many distinct periods of 
filling (from the Miocene to the Upper Pleistocene), were to be 
found together in the same calcareous massif. But on the other 
hand it was a most rewarding study, for the abundance of fossils 
collected was so great that it was possible to carry out a cross- 
check between 'two geologies 9 , that of basins and terraces, and 
that of fissures - both independently built up under my direction 
or by my own work, and whose adjustment was effected without 
the least difficulty. 

In fact, from 1933 onwards, it was in connection with and 
starting from the problems raised by Sinanthropus that my 
researches mostly developed: a journey to Kwang-si, establishing 
the synchronism of the Sinanthropus beds of Northern China 
with the Orang beds of Southern China (82); expeditions to 
India (89, 93), then to Burma (98) with Helmut de Terra, both 
leading to the discovery of a rich Palaeolithic of great age in the 
then at last classified terraces of the three basins of the Indus, the 
Narbada and the Irrawaddy; a visit to, and examination of the 
Pithecanthropus sites of Java, on two occasions, under the guidance 
of Dr von Koenigswald . • . 

In 1939 a remarkable network of research, centred on Peking, 
Singapore and Bandoeng and strongly supported by the American 
scientific institutions, was set up in Eastern Asia, systematically 
covering the various problems raised one after another by the 
search for fossil Man in the Far East. This 'model network 9 , in 
which I had the privilege of sharing, was temporarily interrupted 
by the war, bat not before a consistent series of results had been 
obtained. As a result of these we can now say that it is on the 



Pacific fringe of the Old World that, in the last fifty years, 
Palaeontology has made most progress into the mystery of 
humanorigins. -, 

As an offshoot of these primarily geological and palaeonto- 
logical investigations, I have had the opportunity, on two 
occasions in particular, to broach subjects whose nature is more 
strictly archaeological. First in East Africa, where, after studying 
the Early Palaeolithic industries of the terraces at Obock (105), I 
discovered and quickly excavated a cave near Dire-Dawa (Harrar) 
with a rich industry of the Upper Palaeolithic type. Then in 
China itself, where, after having recognized with my friend 
W. G. Pei, the existence of a Mesolithic industry in the caves of 
Kwang-si, 1 decided to sum up in a short paper die essence of my 
observations and ideas concerning the Mesolithic and Neolithic 
of China - or even, in a more general way, on the peopling of 
China (114). 

And now, to be absolutely complete and sincere, I must surely 
conclude by this admission: from the junction slowly effected 
in my mind by contact with the facts, between the two allied 
notions of the genetic structure of fauna and the genetic structure 
of continents, a third notion has gradually emerged for me: that 
of the genetic structure of Mankind, regarding Mankind as a 
special biological unit of planetary extension; and that third 
notion is now coming to take precedence for me over every 
other object of research, and will continue so to do. It is to the 
tentative exploration of this as yet undefined and nameless 
discipline, which tomorrow, maybe, will become a Science of 
Anthropogenesis, that I have (for lack of a better medium) recently 
devoted a series of essays (49, 123, 124, 125 . . .): popular articles, 
to all appearances, yet into them I feel that I have distilled all that 
is most valuable in my experience and the essence of my vision. 







On 14 August 1917, P&re Teilhard wrote to his cousin from Beaulieu- 
les-Fontaines (Oise), where he had just finished writing The Mystical 
Milieu, as follows : Tm experiencing a certain pleasure in feeling free 
now to start on some fresh subject, if any should suggest itself; and 
in the same letter he continues, 'As always after a long rest, I feel over- 
come again by nostalgia for the front 9 . (The Making of a Mind, pp. 200, 
201.) Such, in fact, was to be the subject of his new essay. Only a few 
weeks later, on 23 September, we find him, in a letter from Muret-et- 
Crouttes, outlining his theme: 

1 would rather like to be able to analyse and account for, briefly, this 
feeling of a plenitude of being and of something more than human 
that I* ve often experienced at the front and that I fear Til miss after the 
war. I think that one could show that the front isn't simply the firing- 
line, the exposed area corroded by the conflict of nations, but the "front 
of die wave" carrying the world of man towards its new destiny. 
When you look at it during the night, lit up by flares, after a day of 
more than usual activity, you seem to feel that you're at the final 
boundary between what has already been achieved and what is 
striving to emerge. It is not only that activity culminates in a sort 
of intense but completely calm paroxysm, dilating to the scale of the 
vast work in which it is playing its part -but the mind, too, gets some- 
thing like an overall view of the whole forward march of the human 
mass, and feels not quite so lost in it. It's at such moments, above all, 
that one lives what I might call "cosmically" - aroused intellectually as 
much as emotionally • • . 

1 don't yet know,' he continues, whether I could really do justice to 
this theme in a few pages.' (pp. 203-4). Two days later, however, he 
finds that the idea is taking shape; he has decided on his title, and is 
proposing to describe what is meant by nostalgia for the front' and 
explain the reasons that lie behind the feeling: 

"Hie reasons, I believe, come down to this; the front cannot but 
attract us, because it is, in one way, the extreme boundary between what 



one is already aware of, and what is still in process of formation. Not 
only does one see there things that you experience nowhere else, but 
one also sees emerge from within one an underlying stream of clarity, 
energy, and freedom that is to be found hardly anywhere else in 
ordinary life - and the new form that the soul then takes on is that of 
the individual living the quasi-collective life of all men, fulfilling a 
function far higher than that of the individual, and becoming fully 
conscious of this new state. It goes without saying that at the front 
you no longer look on things in the same way as you do in the rear: 
if you did, the sights you see and the life you lead would be more 
than you could bear. This exaltation is accompanied by a certain pain. 
Nevertheless, it is indeed an exaltation. And that's why one likes the 
front in spite of everything, and misses it.' (pp. 205-6) 

At that time, P&re Teilhard was still wondering whether he would 
be able to achieve "the clarity of ideas and language 9 without which 
he would be unable to express his meaning; but on 4 October he 
tells us (p. 206) that he had already posted his paper 9 two or three days 
earlier to P&re de Grandmaison in Paris. On 7 October he had an 
encouraging acknowledgement. P&re de Grandmaison found 'the 
little article most original and interesting 9 (p. 209), and it was in fact 
printed in the issue of Etudes dated 20 November, but with the final 
paragraph cut out. 

It was twilight, and I had walked up to the top of the hill from 
which there was a general view of the sector we had just left 
and to which we would shortly, no doubt, be returning. Stretched 
out before me lay rough meadow-lands wreathed in the mist that 
was now forming, and in these the elbow-bends of the Aisne 
curved into milk-white splashes; and beyond, the bare ridge of the 
Chemin des Dames stood out, sharp as a knife-edge, against the 
golden sunset, dotted with drachen [kite-balloons]. At intervals a 
mine sent up a plume of smoke into the silence. 

Why, I wondered to myself, am I standing at just this place on 
just this evening? 

When I am in the front-line, I am frightened of the shelling, 
just as everyone else is. Like everyone else, I count the days until 



our relief and I watch carefully for the signs that announce its 
arrival. When we 'go down the line', no one is more delighted 
than I am. Every time this happens I feel that this time I have at 
last had enough, and more than enough, of the trenches and war. 
As recently as this afternoon, I was still drinking in the joy of 
living again, with no nagging at the back of my mind, in the 
warm embrace of innocent nature. I was savouring the bliss of 
stretching out beneath the trees and of allowing their foliage to 
be reflected in a completely relaxed and carefree mind. 

And now, as always, I find myself turning back instinctively 
towards the Front and the fighting ! 

Is it not ridiculous to be so drawn into the magnetic field of 
the war as to be unable to spend a week in the rear without 
scanning the horizon, as one scans a well-loved sea-strand, for 
the motionless line of 'sausage balloons' ? To be so polarized as 
to be unable suddenly to glimpse at night the silvery spark of a 
swooping flare, or even its reflection in the clouds, without 
feeling my heart beat faster, without a sense of regret, without 
hearing a summons? 

More than ever, on this particular evening, in this wonder- 
fully calm and stimulating setting - in which I am sheltered from 
the violent emotions and intolerable strain of the trenches and can 
feel the impressions that three years of war have sunk deep into my 
being emerge with a new vigour - more than ever the Front casts 
its spell over me. 

Earnestly I question that sacred line of banked-up earth, that 
line of shell-craters, that line of balloons sinking regretfully to 
rest one after another like misshapen burnt-out stars, that line of 
flares now beginning to streak upwards. 

What, then, when you consider it closely, are the properties 
peculiar to this fascinating and deadly line ? By what hidden power 
does it attach itself to all that is most alive in my being - and so 
irresistibly draws it to itself ? 

Since, at this particular moment, I can look around me with 
greater calm and a more penetrating eye, I must try to analyse 



myself more clearly than I have done before. I must know. 

The first 'classified* feeling to which I can compare my present 
emotion is the passion for the unknown and the new. 

If I half-close my eyes and allow my consciousness to relax 
without restraint, if I give free rein to my imagination and let it 
sink back into its early patterns and allow it to recall the past, 
then I feel a resurgence of vague memories of long journeys that 
date back to the time when I was a child. I can once more see that 
time in railway stations when the multicoloured lights blaze out, 
to guide the great trains hurrying towards a wonderful and 
enchanted dawn. In my mind, the flare-lit trenches gradually 
dissolve into a vast transcontinental track, stretching out to an 
unimaginable distance . . . into some place beyond everything. 

And then my dream becomes more sharply defined. 

The devastated ridge whose outline is becoming a deeper and 
deeper purple as it disappears in the lightening yellow of the 
sky, has suddenly turned into the desert plateau where, in the 
East, I so often nursed my dreams - seen as though in a mirage - of 
what I might do as a discoverer and scientist. The water that 
shows white in the valley is no longer the Aisne: it is the Nile, 
whose distant mirror, in the days gone by, used to haunt me like 
a constant summons to the Tropics. I feel now that I am sitting, at 
twilight, near the mosque of El-Giyfishi, on the Mokattam Hills, 
looking south. 

And so the answer comes: I have read my own secret 

In the enigmatic and importunate T that loves the Front so 
obstinately I recognize the T of venture and search, the man who 
is always longing to travel to the furthest limits of the world in 
order to enjoy new and uncommon visions and to be able to say 
that he is 'in the van'. 1 

I admit it: when, the greater part of three years ago, it came to 
the point where I had to go into the trenches for the first time, it 
was indeed in that spirit that I went - as a man who was full of 
curiosity, a jealous curiosity, anxious to see everything, to see 



more in them than other men could see. And even now the men 
who are stuck in the rear areas constitute for me an ever-living 
problem. How can those transport and ambulance-drivers, 
signallers and so on, how can they spend weeks close to the front 
lines and not be eaten up by their longing to go and see what is 
happening up there . . . neighbours as they are to the Front and 
believing, perhaps, that they are in the Front, but in fact further 
from it than a man living on the outskirts of Timbuktu! No 
doubt they have never known the passion for new horizons: but 
does not that mean that they are not completely men? 

In spite of having become used to the Front, in spite of my own 
fatigue, in spite, too, of having found in it attractions that go 
deeper than mere novelty, it is still for me that Continent, filled 
with mysteries and hazards, which has appeared inside our tat- 
tered, meretricious Universe. I see it always as the frontier of the 
known World, the "promised Land 9 open to the bold, the edge of 

Men who have suffered, even to the verge of death, from thirst 
or cold, can never again forget the deserts or the pack-ice where 
they enjoyed the intoxication of being the first and only men. 

It is, in the first place, for that reason and in that way that I can 
no longer bid a permanent farewell to the Front 

And so I am beginning to read the secret of my nostalgia. I need 
the Front because I am, as every human being must be, an 
explorer, an extrovert. But is this first explanation any more than 
an approximate answer to my disquiet; is it, even, no more than 
a metaphor? Geographical or spatial exoticism is simply a par- 
ticular and lower form of the passionate drive to extend ourselves 
to new and larger dimensions. The airman, who masters the 
skies - the thinker, whose mind rises up to difficult and unusual 
ways of looking at things - the opium-smoker who puts out into 
the sea of his dreams - all these are extroverts in their own way. 
Each of them is a conquistador landing on new shores. 
What is it, then, that I myself have seen at the Front, and 



what is it that I wish so ardently to find again, in spite of my fear 
of suffering and evil? 

Is it new deserts, new volcanoes? Is it a new harmony of 
rioting lights and sounds ? 

Is it the vast dumb expanse of Flanders, on which the con- 
fronting armies seem to be sleeping among the stagnant waters ? 

Is it the dismal tops of the coal-tips scattered around the mining 

Is it the burnt-out gorge of the Hauts-de-Meuse, where the 
thundering explosions make the whole terrain smoke as though 
it were alive with sulphurous springs ? 

It is all those, no doubt. But it is above all something more, 
something more subtle and more substantial, of which all 
this great scenic setting is no more than the outer skin, the bait to 
hold the eye of the onlooker. It is something else which I can 
define for myself only as a unique atmosphere, dense and pene- 
trating, in which all this riot of violence and majesty is contained; 
or again, I might define it as a superhuman state to which the 
soul is borne in a uniform, linear, progression, in spite of the 
diversity of the sectors and the vicissitudes of the battle. 8 

To my mind, the unforgettable experience of the Front is one 
ofa vast freedom. 

As soon as the man who is going up the line enters the first 
communication trench, he drops the burden of social conventions. 
From the very moment when civilian life ends there is no longer 
any difference between night and day. Instead of the common- 
place alternation of getting up and going to bed, the man in the 
trenches can see before him nothing but a huge slice of duration, 
full of unforeseen events, in which sleep and meals occur simply 
as circumstances and opportunities allow, with no well-defined 
relation to light or dark. In the trenches, you wash when you can, 
and often you sleep no matter where. All the enslavements and 
hard and fast divisions of ordinary life collapse like a house of 



cards. It is interesting to note in one's own self how great a sense 
of satisfaction can be produced in the mind by this release from 
day-to-day slavery: a satisfaction that verges, perhaps, on the 
irresponsible, but, when properly understood, is right and 

Let there be no mistake about this : the poilus somewhat ironic 
goodnight to the comfortable rear-details is not merely a dismissal 
of regular routine: it symbolizes and heralds a much more inti- 
mate enfranchisement, a release from a wrong concern for self and 
one's own narrow personality. 

Nobody will contradict me when I say that to go up into the 
trenches is to rise into peace. 

As the rear fades into a more final distance, so the irksome 
and nagging envelope of small and great worries, of health, of 
one's family, of success, of the future . . . slides off the soul by 
itself, like an old coat. The heart grows a new skin. A reality of 
a higher or more urgent order chases away and scatters the whirl- 
ing cloud of individual servitudes and cares. When we come down 
the line again we shall perhaps meet their importunate troop 
again; for the moment they are a mere vague mist, left behind 
us. And I despair of making anyone understand the serenity of 
the zone in which the soul finds herself when, secure from a 
danger whose threat is altogether too great, she has time to 
consider what light that danger kindles within her. 
- I can see myself again just as I was, in that peace, a fortnight 

It was night, a clear and calm night, in a sector very much 
broken up by ridges and marshy ground. The smell from the last 
gas attacks still lingered in the hollows under the poplars. At 
intervals you could hear more clearly a rustling noise in die wood 
like that of a startled woodcock taking flight - the falling of a 
mortar-bomb, which then exploded into the sudden ripping open 
of a flash-spangled cloud. And even so the crickets did not stop 
their chirping. 

I was free, and I felt that I was free. 



I was able to walk about just as I pleased in the moonlight, 
stroll on straight ahead, knock down some apples if I found any, 
and then go to sleep in the first shell-hole I came across. I still 
loved everything in the rear that matters to me or causes me 
anxiety, but I did so in a rather distant, controlled, way. My life 
seemed to me more precious than ever; and yet I would have 
abandoned it at that moment without regret, for I no longer 
belonged to myself I was freed and relieved from even my own 
self. And I felt possessed of an inexplicable lightness. 

Precious though this emancipation was, it was still no more 
than the negative part, or the outer shell, of a higher freedom 
which I shall call a positive freedom. The air I breathed was not 
merely pure and fine: it was full and nourishing - full and 
nourishing (a paradoxical phenomenon which I can nevertheless 
vouch for) even through the medium of those poisonous and 
ambiguous odours that were lingering in the tall grasses among 
the wild mint, full and nourishing through those brutal concus- 
sions that periodically shattered the calm of the night, full and 
nourishing through all the manifestations, dormant at that hour, 
of the immense human Presence with which the Front is charged* 

Ah! I knew then - knew as a personal experience - that by 
being granted a favour grudgingly doled out to men by the 
centuries I was enabled, unconstrainedly to direct my vital powers 
upon a tangible object I could at last plunge into the real without 
the risk of dashing myself against die bottom, I could fill my 
lungs with terrestrial life and have no fear of having to gasp for 

How heart-rending it is to find oneself so seldom presented with 
a task to be accomplished, one to which the soul feels that it can 
commit itself unreservedly ! The eye of faith and the will guided 
by the supernatural, which give a boundless extension and value 
to the most humble actions - these are a great source of consola- 
tion and strength; but for all that they cannot normally, by 
themselves, replace experience in its function of arousing and 
sensitizing our faculties. That is why many things remain 



inactive in the setting of a flat, commonplace, life and exist in us 
as a dull feeling of suffering. 

At the Front, the unleashed power of matter, the spiritual 
grandeur of the battle that is being fought, the triumphant 
domination of the moral energies released, combine their appeal 
with that of a noble pride and the imperative need to live, and 
they offer the heart a passion-charged draught of mixed 
elements. Up there, there reigns supreme a victorious conviction 
that one can 'go through with it* on the double plane of terrestrial 
and celestial action, with all one's strength and all one's soul. All 
the driving forces of one's being can be released; no boldness is 
ruled out; for once, man's task is seen to be greater than his 

Of this I am certain: in this discharge of energy, carried to the 
point of self-exhaustion, lies supreme freedom, freedom from all 
our dormant mass of unrecognized aspirations and uneasy powers, 
which we are often unable to develop for lack of matter and 
space - and how wearisome it must be for us to die without 
having allowed them free play. 

No, nothing but the Front will give me back the intoxicating 
freedom I knew on that September night. It is not only that 
today I seem to be coming back from far, far, away; but also I 
have the feeling of having lost a Soul, a Soul greater than my own, 
which lives in the trenches and which I have left behind. 

A man must turn in the end to these almost mystical considera- 
tions if he wishes fully to explain the emptiness and disenchant- 
ment of his returns to the rear, even when they have been most 
longed for. 

The Front is not only the broiling expanse on which the 
opposing energies piled up in the hostile masses are revealed and 
neutralize one another. It is also a bond of a special Life which 
only those share who accept even its risks, and only for as long as 
they remain in it. When the individual has been admitted at some 



spot on that Sublime Surface, he has a positive impression that a 
new existence is enveloping him and taking possession of him. 

He retains, it is true, his own individuality. He is not aware of 
any conscious centre distinct from his own soul. Nevertheless, 
as soon as he takes up his place on the sacred circumference of the 
truly active World, a personality of another order is disclosed, 
which masks and effaces the everyday man. The man of the 
Front acts as a function of the whole Nation and of all that lies 
hidden behind the Nations. His individual activity and passivity 
are directly employed in the service of an entity that is higher in 
richness, in duration, and in its future, than his own. He is him- 
self only secondarily. Primarily he is part of the tool that bores 
ahead, an element in the prow that cuts through the waves. This is 
what he is, and he is conscious of it. 

In this new and hazardous part he has to play, the man whom 
his country has dedicated to die flames receives also a conscious- 
ness that nothing can destroy and that brings him peace. Such a 
man has concrete evidence to prove that he no longer lives for 
himself- that he is freed from himself- that another Thing lives 
in him and dominates him. I do not hesitate to say that this 
special dis-individuation which enables the fighting man to 
attain some human essence higher than himself is the ultimate 
secret of the incomparable feeling of freedom that he experiences 
and that he will never forget. 

Let every man observe himself, when he is going up to the 
firing line, or, again, when he is in billets and sees the next attack 
coming upon him, like a tunnel in which his life will be swallowed 
up. 4 He feels the continuous dull pain of a process that is going 
on in his affective domain, a sort of detachment, operated 
inexorably by the increasing imminence of D-day or zero hour. 
What is enveloping things is not precisely melancholy. It is 
rather a sort of indifference, which makes the details of individual 
life appear distant and colourless, while the fundamental ardour 
for action that is to be Tor all time* becomes more intense. - In 
the Citadel at Verdun, during those days of unforgettable con- 



fusion - with clouds of dust everywhere and with all the shouting 
- when rations, flares and hand-grenades were being chaotically 
distributed to those who were streaming up for the great 
offensive: - and again some hours later, during the interminable 
night march above Belleville and Froideterre, I noticed in 
myself this forcible and irresistible detachment, to be followed 
in turn by peace and exaltation in the superhuman atmosphere 
to which the soul had again become acclimatized. 

It was the Soul of the Front being re-born in me. 

- And then there is the man who picks himself up, covered in 
dust but unharmed, after a five-nine has exploded uncomfortably 
close to him: whence comes this joyful expansion of the heart, 
this alacrity of the will, this new savour in life - things that we 
do not experience if we have just missed being run over by a 
train or shot by a bullet from a carelessly handled revolver? 
Is it solely the joy of 'staying alive* that so fills the soul of survivors 
in war-time and gives new youth to their world? For my part, I 
believe that the completely fresh flavour added to living after a 
narrow escape derives above all from this deep-seated intuition 
that the existence we have found again, consecrated by danger, 
is a new existence. The physical well-being which at thai moment 
spreads over the soul is a sign of the higher Life into which the 
survivor has just been baptized. The man who has passed through 
the fire is another species of man among men. 

Not long ago, as I was cutting across the fields on my way 
back to the trenches (I was going towards Hurtebize, which could 
be seen smoking five kilometres away) I was suddenly stopped by 
a peasant, who reproached me for walking across his ploughland. 
The fellow was perfectly justified. But as I listened to him, I felt an 
inner shock, a dizziness, as though I were falling from a great 
height ... To all appearances we were similar beings, he and I. We 
used the same words; but he was imprisoned in what concerned 
him as an individualistic 'man of the soil' - and I was living with 
the life of the Front. Who has not experienced, when he has been 
on leave and found himself again among persons and things that 



greeted him just as before, that melancholy feeling of being a 
stranger, someone out of scale, as though between the others and 
himself a deep rift had been opened, visible from only one side - 
and that side not theirs. 

It is true to say that without this new and superhuman soul 
which takes over from our own at the Front, there would be 
things to endure and see up there that would be intolerable - and 
which nevertheless seem perfectly ordinary - and even leave (this is 
a fact) a permanent effect of fuller and wider being. 

For my own part I can say that without war there would be a 
world of feelings that I would never otherwise have known or 
suspected. Nobody except those who were there will ever have 
the wonder-laden memory that a man can retain of the plain of 
Ypres in April 1915, when the air of Flanders stank of chlorine 
and the shells were tearing down the poplars along by l'Yperll 
Canal - or, again, of the charred hillsides of Souville, in July 1916, 
when they held the odour of death. - Those more than human 
hours impregnate life with a clinging, ineradicable flavour of 
exaltation and initiation, as though they had been transferred into 
the absolute. When I look back, all the magic of the East, all the 
spiritual warmth of Paris are not worth the mud of Douaumont.* 

When, therefore,.that peace comes which the nations long for (as I 
do myself, more than anyone) something that I can only compare 
to a burning light will suddenly be extinguished on Earth. The 
effect of the war was to break through the crust of the common* 
place and conventional. A window was opened onto the hidden 
mechanisms and deep strata of what man is becoming. A region 
was created in which it was possible for men to breathe a heaven- 
laden atmosphere. - When peace comes, everything will once 
more be overlaid by the veil of the former melancholy and 
trivialities. Thus it is that around Lassigny, for example, the areas 
from which the enemy has retreated already seem dreary, empty 
and spiritless, for the life of the Front has moved on further 



Happy, perhaps, will those be whom death has taken in the 
very drama and atmosphere of war, when they were invested 
with, animated by, a responsibility for and a consciousness of a 
freedom greater than their own - when they were elevated to 
the very frontier of the World - close to God. 6 

The others, the survivors from the Front, will always have a 
void in their heart, so large that nothing we can see will ever be 
able to fill it. Then let them say to themselves, if they are to 
overcome their nostalgia, that in spite of appearances it is still 
possible for them to feel something of the life of the Front 
entering into them. Let them understand that the superhuman 
reality, which was disclosed to them in the shell-holes and barbed 
wire, will never completely withdraw from the pacified world. 
There it will always remain alive, more difficult to detect though 
it may be. And that man will be able to recognize it, and once 
more unite himself to it, who devotes himself to the tasks of 
everyday existence, not in a spirit of selfishness, as before, but 
religiously, with the consciousness of forwarding, in God and for 
God, the great task of creating and sanctifying a Mankind that is 
born above all in hours of crisis but can reach its fulfilment only 
in peace. 7 

♦ . . The fullness of night was now falling over the Chemin des 
Dames. I rose to walk down again to our billets. And as I turned 
to take a last look at that sacred line, the warm, living line of the 
Front, it was then that in the flash of a nascent intuition I half- 
saw that the line was taking on the shape of a higher Thing, of 
great nobility, which I could feel was forming itself even as I 
watched, but which it would have called for a mind more perfect 
than my own to dominate and understand. I thought then of 
those gigantic cataclysms that, long ago, were witnessed only by 
animals. - And at that moment it seemed to me that as I was 
confronted by this Thing in process of formation I was like an 
animal whose soul is awakening and that can see groups of 



connected realities but cannot understand the unitive principle of 
what they represent 8 

On active service, with the Tirailleurs. 

September 1917 

1. Here we already see the emergence of the idea that was often to be expressed in later 
writings, notably in 'Human Energy 9 (1937): 'At present the majority of men do not 
understand Force (the key and symbol of greater-being) except in its most primitive and 
savage form of war. This is perhaps why it is necessary for us to continue for some time 
still to manufacture ever greater and more destructive weapons. For we still, alas, need 
these machines to translate the vital sense of attack and victory into concrete experience. 
But may the moment come (and it will come) when the masses realize that the true human 
victories are those over the mysteries of matter and life. May the moment come when the 
man in the street understands that there is more poetry in a mighty machine for splitting 
the atom than in any artillery. A decisive hour will strike for man, when the spirit of 
discovery absorbs the whole vital force contained in the spirit of war . . .' (Human Energy, 
1969. PP- 135-<9» C£ 'Faith in Peace' (1947) in The Future of Man, pp. 149-54- 

o. Tie Promised Land' : this was to be the title of a later essay, in February 1919. But the 
last paragraph of 'Nostalgia for the Front' is essential to an understanding of the full 
significance of the symbol in this context 

3. Later, on 30 December 1929, he expressed a similar but more personal feeling in a 
letter written to Pere Auguste Valensin from Tientsin: 'Always the same dominating 
impression of impassioned indifference or serenity. It is as though I were breathing a sort 
of vast freedom . • •' 

On ia October 1921 he wrote from Paris to his colleague Pere Licent who was exploring 
Mongolia: 'You are, in relation to me, what I was during the war in relation to "the 
rear". I noticed that at that time, because I was above convention and the pseudo-enslavements 
of con ventional life, my vision was wider and more true. 9 

4. In this simile there is perhaps an allusion to the Tavannes tunnel, through which 
passed units on their way to the trenches east of Verdun, and which opened almost 
directly into the firing-line. 

5. After Pere Teilhard's death, and even before, some readers were taken aback by the 
feeling expressed in this passage. Those who fought in the war of 1914 can vouch for its 
authenticity. Here, as in other contexts but with more clarity of analysis, Pere Teilhard is 
expressing an experience that is not peculiar to himself even though he took it into his life 
with no common intensity and nobility. 

6. One cannot but note the similarity with Peguy, of whose poetry Pere Teilhard was 
an admirer: 

'Happy are those who died in the great battles, 
Resting on the earth, their faces turned to God. 9 

7. This paragraph is an advance summary of some of the considerations Pere Teilhard 
was later to apply to the problem of war and peace. C£ 'La crise presente', Etudes, 10 
October 1937; *TTie moment of choice, a possible interpretation of war' (Christmas 1939) 
in The Activation of Energy, 1963, p. n. Cf. 'Mastery of the World and the Kingdom of 
God' in Writings in Time of War, p. 77 (1967): Transcending existing frontiers, a start is 



being made in forging new links that nothing will henceforth be able to break*. C£ also 
letter of 20 January X94x: There will be no real peace, I am sore, until men share a 
common understanding, at least as a first approximation, on what we should expect and 
hope for from the world's future' (Letters from a Traveller, 1962, p. 278). For the expanded 
version see The Salvation of Mankind: thoughts on the Present Crisis', In Science mi 
Christ, pp. 128-00. 

8. This last paragraph was not prmtedm£ft^«. It ali^dylcoks forward to TTie Great 
Monad', which was written three months later. C£ ^feminization' (1925) : 'But just as in 
the life of individuals there are certain hours of awakening from which, by a sudden 
transformation, we emerge as adults, so in the general development of human conscious- 
ness, there come centuries during which the drama of initiation into the world, and 
consequently the inner struggle, suddenly occur. We are living at such a moment.* (in 
The Vision of the Past, 1966, p. 7*) 


A Manuscript Found in a Trench 

In January and February 1918 P&re Teilhard was with his regiment 
in the chalk country of Champagne. The letters written to his cousin 
during this period have been lost, but the date of The Great Monad and 
the place in which he finished it are given on the title-page: Vertus, 15 
January 1918. Vertus is the chief town of a district to the west of 
ChSlons-sur-Marne. The date would appear to be wrong, for the 
notebook in which Pfcre Teilhard jotted down his thoughts from day 
to day shows that he was still working on the essay in the early part of 
February. For 15 January we should therefore read 15 February. 

A note in the margin of the title-page tells us that the essay was 
written 'to run on from the last paragraph (cut out in the printed 
version) of Nostalgia for the Front 9 . In. style it is closer, however, to the 
Three Stories in the style of Benson; again, in Benson's Lord of the 
Worldhc found something of what he himself attempted to describe in 
The Great Monad. Thus in a letter dated 12 September 191 8, we read: 

Tve come across some odd numbers of the Revue Hebdomadaire 9 
containing the end of The Lord of the World. I was delighted by the 
exact way in which Benson describes pantheistic mysticism and the 
possible unification of the "Great Monad". At the same time I was 
very aware (though I had not noticed it in 1910) of all the difference 
in point of view that separates me from Benson. 9 The Making of a Mind 9 
1965, p. 236. 

"Hie Great Monad 9 is one of the names P&re Teilhard introduced 
before 'the Noosphere 9 . In between the two came 'the Anthroposphere 9 . 
In February 1920 he was to write, 'Who will be the Suess of the 
anthroposphere ? 9 By its combination of formal beauty, symbolic force 
and depth of thought, this "serious fantasy" 1 seems undoubtedly, for 
all its brevity, to be P&re Teilhard 9 s literary masterpiece. 



I have just seen the moon rise over the ridge of the neighbouring 
trenches. The slim, hesitant crescent of the last few twilights has 
gradually turned into a full, luminous disc. The moon, invisible a 
fortnight ago, detaches herself, unique and glorious, from the 
black earthen parapets; she seems to be gliding through the 
barbed wire. 

On these same uplands, the scene of our conflicts, on these flats, 
hardly different from what they are now, there was a time when 
no man yet trod. There were only herds of ruminants to animate 
the solitude in which thought did not exist - in which nothing 
stable was taking shape. 

And then one day, after the horses, the antelopes, the elephants 
- hunting the wild animals of the open country and hunted 
themselves by life, thinking beings appeared here, coming from 
somewhere in the East. 

The instinct for discovery, the need for space, flight from the 
stronger - these drove them on, until their flood came up against 
the sea's flood. It was through these wandering hunters that 
Mankind was stretching the first threads of its network over die 
face of the Earth. 8 

. . . However far we can look back into the past, there has been 
no change in the story of our race. It is a story of successive waves 
which, starting from some undetermined centres, have spread 
their layers over the surface of the continents. 

For a long time these layers never succeeded in joining up and 
covering the whole: they died out before they were able to 
enclose the Universe; or else their advanced elements remained 
isolated after a period of felling back, like pools of still water or 
solid individual blocks. Elsewhere, too, their streams came into 
conflict and boiled up in formidable eddies. 

In spite of these vicissitudes, the flood continued to rise; and 
now it covers the Earth. There is nowhere today where men are 
not in contact with and exerting pressure on men. like some 
molten alloy, the tumultuous human mass, still violently jolted 



and shaken by explosions, needs only to find the laws that govern 
its own internal equilibrium. 

Mankind in armed conflict with itself is a Mankind in process 

What is it that is rising up this evening from the dimly outlined 
trenches to my front? Is it the Moon, or is it rather the Earth, a 
unified Earth, a new Earth? 

When the great war broke out which at one blow brought 
crashing down the whole structure of a decrepit civilization - the 
short-sighted or the ungenerous-minded, those with no faith in 
die World, 4 knew a bitter triumph. Like Pharisees, they jeered at 
the bankruptcy of Progress and the exposed vanity of all social 

As though every greater order has not always emerged from 
the ruins of the lesser! ... as if a new and fresh surface did not 
force its way up through the tattered fragments of the old 

The whole of History teaches us this lesson, that after every 
revolution and after every war Mankind has always emerged a 
little more self-cohesive, a little more unified, because the links 
that hold its organism together are more firmly locked together 
and hope of a common emancipation has become strengthened. 

. . . After every crisis Mankind is more differentiated and at the 
same time more one whole. 

What, then, can we expect from this crisis? 

If we are not as yet witnessing today the last outburst of discord, 
then we shall be doing so tomorrow; for the last act in the drama 
is rapidly approaching. It will not be long before the human mass 
closes in upon itself and groups all its members in a definitively 
realized unity. Respect for one and the same law, one and the same 
orientation, one and the same spirit, are tending to overlay the 
permanent diversity of individuals and nations. Wait but a little 



longer, and we shall form but one solid block. The cement is 

Already, in the silence of the night, I can hear through this 
world of tumult a confused rustling as of crystalline needles 
forming themselves into a pattern or of birds huddling closer 
together in their nest - a deep murmur of distress, of discomfort, 
of well-being, of triumph, rising up from the Unity which is 
reaching its fulfilment. My heart was trembling with an emotion 
that embraced everything in the world 

. . . when, over the torn and blackened earth, there rose the 
great Monad. 

The elements that had at last been reunited were swarming 
together, were rejoicing, were triumphing in the bliss of having 
succeeded in flooding over the whole Earth . . . 

For my own part, I was filled with fear and overcome by 
dizziness when I marked the narrow limits within which the 
radiant globe was enclosed, and suddenly became conscious of the 
incurable isolation in which the glory of Mankind is lost. 

It is something so new for man to find himself absolutely alone, 
eternally alone, and no longer to have anything before him to 
which he can direct his steps. 6 

Hitherto men have always lived in the shadow of human 
realities greater than themselves. They worked in order to com- 
bine with one another and to expand - to occupy still more 
countries and, by their multiple alliances, to form a people greater 
than their own. For their triumphs, they had spectators to applaud 
or envy - to direct their steps, they had guides - to govern their 
conflicts, they had an external power and potential judges. They 
never turned their eyes outside their own society; above them they 
always saw the leafy dome of the human forest. 

This evening, as I saw the single block into which we are all 
on the point of solidifying, for the first time I had the feeling of 
emerging from our race and of seeing it as a self-contained whole - 



and I felt as though we were all linked together and floating into 
the void. 

This solitude had nothing of that initial isolation, still thronged 
with hopes, experienced by a handful of men lost in desert 
country: such men would have before them an emptiness to 
conquer and fill . . . What I felt was the weight of an ultimate and 
definitive isolation, the misery known to those who have searched 
all around their prison and found no way out. 7 

Man has man for a companion. Mankind is alone. 

Only a litde more, and society will no longer have to look to 
any influence external to itself for the regulation of its all- 
inclusive harmony - it will need no admirer to wonder at its 
progress ... It will then have to find the driving force behind its 
improvement and the right ordering of its equilibrium without 
moving outside itself. When the thinking Earth has completed 
its closing in upon itself, then only shall we know the true nature 
of a Monad! 8 ... - This evening, in the agony of the bloody 
schism which at this moment is dividing the World with no 
possible recourse (already!) to any arbiter - in the light, too, of the 
pronouncements in which our leaders, for the first time and 
under the pressure of an irresistible necessity, are drawing up the 
plan for a universal civilization - this evening I saw the frontiers of 
Mankind - I became conscious of the blackness and emptiness 
around the Earth. 

A perfect circle in the vast sky, the Moon was riding over the 
trenches ... 

The moon herself feels the pull and the heat of the stars in 
whose company she moves. But what friendly thought will be 
able to find its way through space as far as us ? 

I thought then that as soon as men saw the great Monad, their 
own work, rising over the battlefield like a prize to be won, they 
would forthwith bow down before it, in die wonder and pride 
of their satisfied power. Man is already so proud when he can 



master the forces contained in his own wretched person . . . What 
limits can there be to this gesture of independence when he has 
succeeded in concentrating in one sphere die power contained in 
the whole of his species ! 

Soon, however, I understood that the uneasiness which from 
the first had impregnated my vision of the great Monad - the 
agony of feeling myself shut in - would, drop by drop, filter into 
the heart of this sense of satisfaction and sufficiency. 

The feeling of the limits of our domain will inexorably make 
its way into the consciousness of the most heedless of us - it will 
insensibly chill the soul of the most enthusiastic. All, in the end, 
will feel, and feel as one, what I am going through now. 

It will be a critical moment when human beings wake up, 
no longer at this point or at that point but as one whole, to 
collective consciousness of their isolation under the wide heavens - 
when raising their eyes to embrace the complete configuration of 
their world, see that they are encircled . . . 

Tell me, O thinking World, gravitating in the spiritual void, 
laden with the soul of all peoples, what force keeps you con- 
solidated upon yourself? and what pull, checking your fall, acts as 
your guide?* 

I imagine that when Mankind has understood en bloc that it is 
sealed in upon itself and that in all the world (if not in the heavens) 
there is only itself on which it can rely to save itself (experi- 
mentally, I need hardly say) 10 it will first feel a great thrill of 
charity vibrate in the fabric of its being. - There are times when, 
in a sudden flash, we see what treasures of goodness towards his 
fellow-man lie hidden in the heart of man. But these treasures 
are nearly always locked up, so that what we know of society is 
hardly more than its conflicts and tyrannies: die men of today 
live as chance dictates, they do not seek one another out nor love 
one another . . . If die pressure of an undeniable necessity could 
succeed in overcoming our mutual repulsions and in breaking the 
barrier of ice which isolates each one of us, who can judge what 

i8 7 


well-being and what tenderness would not emerge from the 
harmony of such vast numbers? - When men feel that they are 
really alone in the world, then (unless they tear one another to 
pieces) they will begin to love one another. 11 

Moreover, I like to think, instead of withdrawing into despair- 
ing inactivity, they will see how fruitless and chaotic has been the 
work to which they have so far applied themselves. - Even in this 
century, men are still living as chance circumstances decide for 
them, with no aim but their daily bread or a quiet old age. You 
can count the few who fall under the spell of a task that far 
exceeds the dimensions of their individual lives ... At this very 
moment we are being given a glimpse of what a national effort 
can mean. Even so, unless adult Mankind is to drift aimlessly and 
so perish, it is essential that it rise to the concept of a specifically 
and integrally human effort. After having for so long done no more 
than allow itself to live, Mankind will one day understand that 
die time has come to undertake its own development and to mark 
out its own road . . . u 

As die specific consciousness of the Monad spread over the earth, 
so its disc seemed to me to concentrate and grow brighter, while 
its track was aimed more directly to the Zenith. The great Monad 
had undoubtedly found one single, collective, human goal for its 
existence - and, each in its own degree, all individual efforts were 
co-operating in this supreme vital task ... 

The ancients believed that the stars were alive, like great 
animals or spirits. I can see what truth there was in their mis- 
conception. It may well be that the stars are scattered in space, 
•with no possibility of inter-communication, in order that each 
one may carry a special soul, the soul of the peoples that multiply 
on its surface - the common soul of all those whose cosmic isola- 
tion concentrates into love and effort, until a mysterious organism 
is born of their coalescence. 18 

When the final spasms that are racking civilization today have 



come to appear as strange and distant to our descendants as the 
invasion of this corner of France by the first nomads appears to 
us, then, O Moon, you will rise over a Mankind concentrated 
on its ideal of progress, as this evening you are rising over the 
smoke-wreathed trenches - the same Moon, rising over our 
great-great- . . . grandchildren. And your melancholy smile will 
fall on the living, those who have completed their daily task and 
are wrapped in sleep, and those, too, who are keeping the night 
watches. 14 

Pale Moon, icy Moon, will those men - full of vigour on an 
ageing Earth - who look up to you in those days, will they 
understand the ultimate meaning of your silent face ? 

The ascetic keeps before his eyes the grim image of a whitened 

And of what does your wan countenance remind us, you 
burnt-out star, held up as a sign to all the ages, if not that Mankind 
grows, lashed to a corpse ? . . . 15 

'Work* is what you seem to be saying to us, 'work with all 
your might, to make your dwelling-place fit to be lived in and 
lovely, rouse yourselves in a passion to disclose its secrets and to 
create beauty . . . What awaits you, in your turn - you and your 
works - is the rigidity of my stark crust/ 

Is it a challenge to us, O Moon, that you hold in your death, is 
it the implacable mirror in which our future is to be read - or is it, 
rather, the last lesson that you have to teach us ? 

If that be a challenge, if you died because you failed, so be it! 
We shall fight for what your will lacked the intensity to win. We, 
in our turn, shall try to force the barriers of our isolation. 

The World, maybe, is easier to mould than we think: upon its 
determinism, its limits, we shall bring to bear the convergent 
ardour of our action and our thought in an attempt to make it 
more pliable and expansible . . . 

Perhaps, in spite of its impressive bulk, this Colossus has feet of 



clay ? . . . We are going to batter at its foundations like a ram, with 
the whole combined force of our shoulders. Suppose we could 
overturn it and make our way out through its shattered frag- 

Perhaps, at least, the ocean of space which imprisons us can be 
crossed by our thought or even by something in our life? . . . 
Shall we launch a ship upon those waters and let the Earth founder 
behind us? 

- But no: it is madness to hope to come out alive from the 
doomed enclosure that holds us - madness to hope to try to 
communicate to the whole Universe the life of the great Monad! 
. . . What Titan could prevent Matter from continuing inexorably 
to fold back upon itself and so lock itself around us ? 

The day will come when Earth, too, bleached to a uniform 
whiteness, like a great fossil, will be a mere gravitational cipher; 
there will be no more movement on its surface, and it will still 
hold all our bones. 16 

What is descending upon us, therefore, from the sky in the 
clearness of the nights, is not a challenge to an insensate duel ... It 
is a supreme warning. 

Down here, flesh - elaborated by spirit in order to act and de- 
velop itself - inevitably becomes, sooner or later, a prison in 
which the soul suffocates; and in consequence there is only one 
way into the greater life open to natural organisms, whether they 
belong to the individual or to Mankind -and that way is Death." 

Incessantly, like a trembling haze that vanishes, a little spirit is 
released from the Earth and evaporates around it: the soul of 
those who have passed away. By that same road must depart the 
fully formed and matured Spirit of the great Monad. 

Every star (if it be true that they all live, every one in its own 
turn) will know its own individual death: in cold or conflagration, 
in intestine struggles or in slumbering happiness. 

The only true death, good death, is a paroxysm of life: it is 
obtained by a desperate effort on the part of the living to be more 



pure, more stripped of everything, 18 more tense in their deter- 
mination to escape from the zone in which they are confined. 
Happy the World that is to end in ecstasy! . . .*• 

My vision, then, was incomplete. 

Even when we contain within one single form the totality of 
our race, it is mistakenly that we see a true monad rise up before 
us. What we see is only the impermanent whirlpools produced 
by two streams that run separately. 

While the remains of life gradually revert to a single mass, the 
final receptacle of all inert matter (later to disappear, perhaps in 
some extreme pulverization), Spirit emerges from every cosmic 
unit, and is drawn towards the pole proper to soul. - There we 
have the history of the World. 80 

One by one - each bearing the special colour, the particular 
properties, the individual vision of the World in which they have 
flourished - distinct groups of living beings join the Centre in 
which, we can be sure, die spiritual nectar extracted from the 
countless bodies scattered throughout the firmament, is com* 
bined into one single Thing. 

Thus our isolation is only partial in its relation to the terrestrial 
organism which is for a time our common matrix . • • One and 
the same influence animates and holds together everything that 
thinks . . . One single circle embraces all spirit, and imprisons 

We can hardly perceive this higher and uncircumscribed unity 
of the Universe ... the most we can say is that at certain times a 
wind greater than we, coming we know not whence, passes 
through our soul . . • But we may well wonder what understanding 
of our personal life, or even of the life of one of our cells, 
could be attained by infinitesimal beings presumed to exist, and 
distributed among die molecules of our body . . . 

O wonder-laden Centre! O immense sphere! O God! 21 



On that war-time evening, everything was enveloped for me in 
the plenitude of the great Monad - in the light of the moon. 

Vertus, 15 January 1918 

1. The author had added a sub-title, 'A serious fantasy ... in the moonlight 9 , but he 
crossed this out and substituted another (A ms. found in a trench). The manuscript shows 
many erasures and the writing is less firm than in others, so that this would appear to be 
a first rough draft 

2. These first migrations of man are described in Henri BreuiTs Les Primitifs actuels et 
prihistoriques, Congres de l'Association pour ravancement des sciences, 1928. We know 
that well before the war Pere Teilhard had been closely associated with Breuil, who was 
attached to the Institute of Palaeontology, while Pere Teilhard himself was working in the 
palaeontological laboratory of the Museum. Cf. Claude Cuenot, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 
(1958) p. 34-5; Edouard Le Roy, Les Origines htmaines et Involution de Vuitelligenu{i9%%) 
ch. 12 (pp. 234-54). 

3. Here we already meet an idea which was to be expressed more clearly in Pere 
Teilhard's later work, notably in 'A great event foreshadowed, the Planetization of 
Mankind* (25 December 1945), in The Future of Man (1964) p. 127, Fontana edition p. 132. 

'During these six years, despite the unleashing of so much hatred, the human block has 
not disintegrated. On the contrary, in its most rigid organic depths it has further increased 
its vice-like grip upon us alL First 1914-18, then 1939-45 - two successive turns of the 
screw. Every new war, embarked upon by the nations for the purpose of detaching them- 
selves from one another, merely results in their being bound and entangled in a more 
inextricable knot. The more we seek to thrust each other away, the more do we inter- 
penetrate. 9 

4. This 'faith in the World* lay behind his later apologia, 'How I believe' (i934)» Here 
we find him asserting and vindicating it before developing the concept more fully. 

5. In The Heart of Matter* (1950), p. 31 above, we read: This gift or faculty of 
perceiving, without actually seeing, the reality and organicity of collective magnitudes is 
still comparatively rare: but I have no doubt at all . . . that it was the experience of the 
War that brought me this awareness and developed it in me as sixth sense*. To this he 
adds a note: This awakening is unmistakably apparent in a rather over-free fantasy, 
entitled 'The Great Monad', which was written in the trenches, about 1917: the full 
moon emerging over the barbed wire - symbol and image of the thinking Earth - and 
more clearly still in the last paragraph (omitted by the editors) of 'Nostalgia for the Front*. 
See also 'Cosmic Life* (Writings in Time of War, p. 15), *A summons, rising from some 
hidden depth within ourselves, that calls on us to broaden our self-regard, and realize that 
in virtue of our immortal souls, we are the countless centres of one and the same sphere*. 

6. Teilhard was never to abandon this concept On 12 October 1926 we find him 
writing from Tientsin to the Abbe* Gaudefroy, and confiding to him his dream of writing 
'a sort of Book of the Earth* in which he hoped to describe 'the confidence, the ambitions, 
the sense of plenitude, and also the disappointments, anxieties, the sort of dizziness of the 
man who becomes conscious of the destinies and concerns of the entire Earth (entire 
Mankind). I would not try in this essay to fall into line with any of the accepted trends, but 
simply to express my own feeling and communicate my faith in man's work and man's 



unity - my anger at the hard and fast divisions, both vertical and horizontal, that still 
compartmentalize spiritual fragments whose final end must be unity - our chagrin when 
we see ourselves imprisoned on a globe whose limited importance is being exhausted - our 
agony in finding ourselves all alone, the whole mass of us, in the middle of stellar space 9 . 

7. Issue: This and similar words were much favoured by Tcilhard. 'Creative Union* in 
Writings m Time of War, p. 173. The atomism of Spirit' (1941) in Activation of Energy 
(1970), p. 46: 'the way out opened for consciousness in the heart of things*. To the Abbe* 
Gaudefroy, 16 June 1929: '. . . There is no possible way out for the Noosphere apart from 
the Christian axis*. The Christie' (above p. 92) (1955), 'we can . . . distinguish above us 
the positive gleam of a way out*. The end of the species' (1952) in The Future of Man* p. 
303, 'an outlet appears at the peak of Time'. 'Reflections on the compression of mankind' 
(1953) in Activation of Energy, as above, p. 342. In that last essay and in The death-barrier 
and co-reflection' (1955) in the same volume, we have an analysis of the 'suffocating* world 
and the world 'closing in on itself (pp. 341-6, 397-406). Cf. The human rebound of 
evolution' (1947) in The Future of Man (as above) p. 210, etc. Letter of 1 January 1917, in 
The Making of a Mind (19^ as above), The former cosmic framework no longer suffices 
to contain (to satisfy) the new activities born with the human soul', p. zoo. The Singulari- 
ties of the human species', Introduction (1954), in The Appearance ofMan,'pp. 208-9. 

8. The sentence 'When the thinking Earth . . . Monad I* is written here in the MS., 
enclosed in brackets and marked for insertion above. 

9. Pere Tcilhard still keeps up the deliberate but silent assumption that God is absent 
from this human universe, from the Great Monad. Here the apologist gives a hint of the 
plan he will realize in his concluding pages. 

10. The bracketed words have been added in the margin. 

11. C£ Dostoyevsky, The Raw Youth: Venilov is telling his son Dolgoruky how men 
have driven out God. They have suddenly realized, he goes on to say, that they are now 
completely alone, utterly abandoned, like orphans. So, what can they do ? And Venilov, 
as he muses, thinks to himself that, if men understood this, they would quickly find some 
object of love in order to allay the deep pain of grief in their hearts. Every man would 
tremble for every other man's life and happiness. As they met they would look at one 
another searchingly and with great undemanding, and their eyes would be filled with 
love and sorrow. That, however, was a mere dream. 

- Or Peguy, LePorche du mystere de la deuxieme vertu, The Porch of the mystery of the second 

virtue, (Pleiade edition, p. 127): Cespauvres enfants sont si malheureux qu'a moins f avoir 


Comment riauraient-ilspas chariti de leursfreres, 

Comment n'auraient-ilspas chariti les uns des autres. 

So hapless these poor children, that unless their hearts were of stone 

How could they not know charity for their brothers, 

How could they not know charity for one another. 

12. This idea was to be, worked out more fully in the title-essay of Human Energy, part 
IV, The conscious organization of human energy', pp. 125-37 (1969)* 

Forty years later, we began (take, for example, the geophysical year of 1965-6) to fulfil to 
some degree the prophecy contained in The Great Monad*. 

13. The word 'coalescence' recurs later (1950), in almost the same sense: 'How may we 
conceive and hope that human unanimity will be realized on Earth?* in The Future of Man, 
(1964), p. 284: 'An enforced coalescence of all Thought in the sum total of itself '. But the 
1950 essay distinguishes between 'an enforced unification, by force or compression* and a 
'free unification, through attraction', and it is in connection with the former that Teilhard 
uses the word 'coalescence*. Here, on the other hand, his point of view is somewhat 



different and both forms of unification are included. 

14. At this point the symbolism changes. The Moon is no longer the symbol of the 
Great Monad, of unified Mankind rising up in a gigantic common effort: it becomes the 
symbol of cosmic death. 

15. C£ M. Barthelemy-Madaule, Bergson et Teilhard de Chardin, p. 88: 'It is a sort of 
solemn dirge that Teilhard hears on the field of death lit by the dim light of the small hours*. 
Earth, which bears Mankind, will suffer the same fate as the Moon to which she is bound. 

16. C£ The end of the species' (1952) : *We shall gain nothing by shutting our eyes to 
this shadow of collective death that has appeared on our horizon. On the contrary, we must 
open them wider*. (The Future of Man, 1964 (as before), p. 300, Fontana edition p. 314.) 'Is 
not Man even now in process of developing astronautical means which will enable him to 
go elsewhere and continue his destiny in some other corner of the firmament ? That is what 
they say, and tor all I know there may be people for whom this sort of reasoning does 
really dispel the clouds that veil the future. I can only say that tor my part I find such 
consolation intolerable, etc' (pp. 300-1, Fontana edition p. 315). C£ Peguy, Zangurilli 
'Mankind will leave behind the first dirigibles just as it left behind the first locomotives. 
We shall be able to circle the earth in a mere flash. But it will always be only the temporal 

17. C£ letter of 13 November 1916 in The Making of a Mind (as before), pp. 144-6. 
'Mass on the World' in Hymn of the Universe (1965) and above p. 119* Le Milieu Divin, 
pp. 68-70. 

18. We should possibly read the MS. as 'plus uns' (more one) rather than 'plus nus* 
(more stripped). 

19. C£ The atomism of spirit', in Activation of Energy (1970), p. 46: 'Escape in depth 
(through the centre) or, which comes to the same thing, ecstasis.' life and the Planets* 
(1945) in The Future of Man, 1964, pp. 122-3, Fontana, pp. 126-8: 'We cannot resolve 
this contradiction, between the congenital mortality of the planets and the demand for 
irreversibility developed by planetized life on their surface, by covering it up or 
deferring it: we have finally to banish the spectre of Death from our horizon . • .* Let 
us now suppose that, from Omega Point "there constantly emanate radiations hitherto 
only perceptible to those persons whom we call 'mystics' !" Let us further imagine that, as 
the sensibility or response to mysticism of the human race increases with planetization, 
the awareness of Omega becomes so widespread as to warm the earth psychically, while 
physically it is growing old. Is it not conceivable that Mankind, at the end of its totaliza- 
tion, its folding-in upon itself, may reach a critical level of maturity where, leaving 
Earth and stars to lapse slowly back into the dwindling mass of primordial energy, it will 
detach itself from this planet and join the one true, irreversible essence of things, the 
Omega point? A phenomenon perhaps outwardly akin to death: but in reality a simple 
metamorphosis and arrival at the supreme synthesis. An escape from the planet, not in 
space or outwardly, but spiritually and inwardly, such as the hypercentration of cosmic 
matter upon itself allows.' 

20. Cf. letter of 6 January 1917, 'Everything we give out from ourselves except to 
another soul is no more than dregs. In a way, the whole tangible universe itself is a vast 
residue, a skeleton of countless lives that have germinated in it and left it, leaving behind 
them only a trifling, infinitesimal, part of their riches. True progress never makes itself 
felt, is never realized, in any of the material creations we try to substitute for ourselves in 
the hope that they will survive our life on earth: it is in souls that the advance is made, 
the real sparks in which the inner fires of the world are concentrated and embodied, and it 
disappears with them', in The Making of a Mind (1965), p. 163. Wedding address (1928), 
'For Odette and for Jean,' see above, p. 138. 'Far from being impermanent and accidental, 



it it fouls, and alliances of souls, it ii the energies of souls, that alone progreu,iiifallibly and 
it is they alone that will endure*. 

21. Cf. letter of 29 September 1918 : 'Isn't the particular attraction of his (Christ's) being, 
precisely the 1 uniting in him - if I may put it so - of the centre and the sphere* (TteAfafcfog 
of a Mind, p. 241). 

This is the classical teaching, already to be found in St Gregory the Great, Aioralia in Job 
La. c.12, n.20: He remains within all things, outside all things, above all things, below 
all things ... Encompassing without, penetrating withm...penetratmg by encompassing, 
encompassing by penetrating*. 

'It is precisely because he is at once so deep and yet so altin to an extensionless point that 
God is infinitely near, and dispersed everywhere. It is precisely because he is the centre that 
he fills the whole sphere. The omnipresence of the divine is simply the effect of its 
extreme spirituality and is the exact contrary of the fallacious ubiquity which matter seems 
to derive from its extreme dissociation and dispersal In the light of this discovery, we 
may resume our march through the inexhaustible wonders which the divine milieu has in 
store for us.' (Le Milieu Dirts, pp. 101-2.) 

C£ note to Xc Christ dau la matiere'ml^ 
'On more than one occasion Pere Teilhard stated that God is simultaneously the Centre 
(the Heart) and the Sphere. Thus, in The Great Monad', above, p. 191, 'O wonder-laden 
Centre! O immense Sphere 1 O God!' And again, in 'Cosmic Life' Writings in Time of 
War, p. 70* 7 e * tts » the Centre to which all things are moving*. His language is akin to 
that of de BeVullc in his Discours de Vfat et des grandeurs de Jesus (5th edn,, 1639* pp. 152-3) 
and his Vie defisus, discours 1, no. 21 (3rd edn., 1630, p. 29). 



This is a key-text for an understanding of Pfcre Teilhard's fundamental 
attitude and of the degree of importance he attaches to the various 
concepts he develops in his writings. Moreover, it is exceptionally 

We have two autograph manuscripts, showing only comparatively 
slight differences. Anyone familiar with the author's methods who 
compares the two carefully, will have no doubt but that one is a first 
draft and the other the revised version (cf. The Making of a Mind, p. 
240). The draft was sent to his cousin Marguerite Teillard; the revised 
version was evidently intended for one of those who, in the author's 
words, 'have the right to guide me 9 . 

We must wait for a critical edition to give us the variant readings 
and for stylistic experts to examine their nature. It is the revised version, 
we need hardly add, that is printed here. 

The bewilderment, accompanied by a certain disquiet, experi- 
enced, by my best friends when reading my most recent essays 
(Cosmic Life, The Struggle against the Multitude) has impressed on 
me the necessity of providing some clarifications of my ideas. 

In order, therefore, to be more certain in my own mind of 
what precisely I am putting forward, and to simplify the task of 
criticism and correction that falls on those who have the right to 
guide me, I have tried to define the basic essential characteristics 
of my 'vision of the World*, and to allow them to emerge from 
the philosophical idiom in which, for lack of any better, and 
provisionally, I have expressed them. 

What follows is the result of this process of refinement and 

I shall begin by describing the fundamental tendency, the natural 
cast, of my mind, which cannot, in practice, be changed. 



Then I shall describe how these innate dispositions gradually 
changed, for me, into a particular way of seeing everything, whether 
earthly or divine. 

Finally, I shall show how, in its turn, this vision or experience 
(belonging, more properly, to the mystical order) came to be 
contained as a secondary development in a certain ascesis 
(= ascesis 'of total effort') and a certain philosophy (=* 'philosophy 

Thus the complexity of my internal attitude will be seen to 
proceed in successive steps - less and less vital for me, but at the 
same time easier to contest and correct 

May Our Lord Jesus Christ enlighten, for their own sake and 
for mine, those who read this brief apologia ! 


However far back I go into my memories (even before the age 
of ten) I can distinguish in myself the presence of a strictly 
dominating passion: the passion for the Absolute. 

At that age, of course, I did not so describe the urgent concern 
I felt; but today I can put a name to it without any possible 

Ever since my childhood, the need to lay hold of 'some 
Absolute 9 in everything was the axis of my inner life. I can 
remember very vividly that, for all my youthfiil pleasures, I was 
happy only in terms of* fundamental delight; and that consisted 
generally in the possession, or the thought of, some more precious, 
rarer, more consistent, more immutable object. At one time it 
would be a piece of metal; at another, I would take a leap to the 
other extreme and find satisfaction in the thought of God-the- 
Spirit (the Flesh of Our Lord seemed to me at that time to be 
something too fragile and too corruptible). 

This may well seem an odd preoccupation. I can only repeat 
that it was a fact, and a permanent fact. I was never to be free 
from the irresistible (and at the same time vitalizing and soothing) 



need to find unending rest in Some Thing that was tangible and 
definitive; and I sought everywhere for this blissful object. 

The story of my inner life is the story of this search, directed 
upon continually more universal and more perfect realities. 
Fundamentally, my underlying innate tendency (the 'nisus 9 or 
'thrust 9 of my soul) has remained absolutely inflexible, ever since 
I have been aware of my own self. 

It would serve no purpose here to give a detailed review of 
the various altars that I have successively raised to God in my 
heart. I shall only say that as I found every individual form of 
existence to be unstable and subject to decay, I extended the range 
of my search: to elementary Matter, to the currents of physical 
energy, to the totality of the Universe - always, I must confess, 
with an instinctive predilection for matter (regarded as more 
absolute than the rest) that I corrected [in myself] only much later. 
(Cf. 'Creative Union, True Matter' in Writings in Time of War, 
p. 166, 1968, and below pp. 205-6.) 

Since my childhood, and in later days ever more fully and with 
a greater sense of conviction, I have always loved and sought to 
read the face of Nature; but, even so, I can say that my approach 
has not been that of the 'scientist 9 but that of the Votary 9 . It seems 
to me that every effort I have made, even when directed to a 
purely natural object, has always been a religious effort: sub- 
stantially, it has been one single effort. At all times, and in all I 
have done, I am conscious that my aim has been to attain the 
Absolute. I would never, I believe, have had the courage to busy 
myself for the sake of any other end. 

Science (which means all forms of human activity) andRefigion 
have always been for me one and the same thing; both have been, 
so far as I have been concerned, the pursuit of one and the same 




Under the constant pressure of my mind, which endeavoured to 
extract from Things a soul made up of consistence and the 
Absolute, the Universe was ultimately revealed to me as a 
Reality with an extraordinarily insistent claim for recognition. 

As I write now, I can see, in what has become my most habitual 
outlook on the world, in my normal day-to-day life: 

1. First, the Universe as a certain eminently great and precious 
Entity. I am habitually conscious (in some way) of its Totality, of 
its /Becoming 9 , of the countless potentialities (virtutes etpotentiae) 
it contains. And in the presence of this majesty, I must confess 
that many restless human activities seem to me singularly 
unworthy of notice. 

2. Secondly, I see the Universe as supremely inclusive and 
dominant. I feel that I am involved in it, locked into it, contained 
within it. I feel that I cannot take full possession of my own self 
except by extending my self into a certain perfection which runs 
through all things - so that my own fulfilment must be in, and 
with, the universality of Creation. 

3. This means that I believe I can distinguish in the Universe a 
profound, essential Unity, a unity burdened with imperfections, a 
unity still sadly "pulverulent 9 , but a real unity within which every 
'chosen 9 substance gains increasing solidity. 

Thus a first, inextinguishable Core of fire is radiant within me, 
and in this all my activity finds warmth: the vast, intimate, single 
World. In its heat the passion for the universal Real is kept alive 
deep down in my being. - Human action seems to me to be com- 
pletely satisfying and conscious only when it is carried through in 
union with the fulfilment of all cosmic perfection. 

This disposition of mine is the result of an innate tendency. I 
should have to make a positive (and perhaps impossible) effort to 
resist it 




God Our Lord, the revealed End of the Universe, is the second 
Core of my soul. 

The whole problem of my interior life - and all, too, that 
gives it value and delight - has consisted, and still consists, in 
knitting together in myself the influences that radiate from each 
of die two Centres (God and the World) - or, to put it more 
exactly, in making them coincide. 

I shall describe later at what particular, explicit, solution to the 
problem I came to rest, after more than twenty years of feeling 
my way and experimenting within myself. - What I wish to 
draw the attention of my guides to above all is that, before 
seriously reflected considerations came into play, the reconcilia- 
tion and fusion of the two fundamental loves (love of God and 
love of the World) was realized in me, intellectually and affect- 
ively, by itself alone, vitally. 

Without any effort, through a sort of natural expansion of 
creation, I came to see God as an extension of the attributes 
(magnitude, intimacy, unity) in the Universe which had made so 
vivid an appeal to me. In some way he was revealed to me through 
those attributes (shining through them, reaching me through them 
- impregnated with them, if I may so express what I mean), 
fulfilling them, going beyond them, and yet not destroying them. 

Through dilation of the World's charms - and also, I may add, 
through the need to find an absolute principle for the World's 
successful issue and for its unity (a remedy for its contingence) - 
knowledge and love of the Universe developed spontaneously for 
me (with great clarity, but in a way that is difficult to express) 
into knowledge and love of God. 

Today I can, I believe, see and feel how the two Centres of all 
human love insist on their need for one another and complete 
one another in an astonishing way: God using the World so 



that he may be attained by us and himself attain us (that is to say, 
receiving from the World, in relation to us, a sort of esse tangibik) ; 
and the World, in turn, relying on God in order to overcome its 
contingency and plurality (that is to say, receiving from God, by 
participation, a sort of esse absolutum - the consecration of its 

What is Our Lord Jesus Christ if not this synthesis of the created 
Universe and its Creator? 

This fundamental experience, the support of my whole religious 
life, can be formulated in the following wish, in which is expressed 
the most general necessary condition of my personal sense of 
balance and of my interior joy : 

"To be able to admit a certain co-extension of Christ and the 
Universe, such that: 

i. Christ may succeed to the magnitude and all-enveloping 
power of the Universe. 

2. Meritorious action can be effected with the consciousness of 
acting in union with the whole Universe/ 

In all my ideas, this is the only point to which I really cling. And 
it is this above all that I wish to have either approved or corrected. 

In understanding the value I attach to the orthodoxy of the 
thesis I have just put forward, it should be noted that it is not 
merely the expression of the psychological need I feel of preserving 
my love of the Universe (in some way the initial substance of my 
love of God). It is an even more categorical statement of my faith 
in the Plenitude of Christ 

My irresistible tendency is to universalize what I love, because 
otherwise I cannot love it. 

Now, a Christ who extended to only a part of the Universe, a 
Christ who did not in some way assume the World in himself, 
would seem to me a Christ smaller than the Real . . . The God of 
our Faith would appear to me less grand, less dominant, than the 
Universe of our experience! 



How, then, could I love him more than all things, more than 
die World? 

On the other hand, I have no words to express the ever fresh 
treasures of strength, of light, and of peace that are constantly 
made available to me by the fundamental vision of Christ in all 

In very truth, venerunt mihi omnia bona cum ilia. 


In order to follow the logic of my nature, in order to be true 
to my own self (and that means, I hope, true to my vocation) I 
have had to try to become perfectly clear in my own mind about 
what this universal Presence of Christ consists in: the Presence 
that I felt and loved above all things. 

This was a task that I could not shirk. 

At the same time it plays only a secondary part in my 'teaching', 
a somewhat artificial part, and one much more disputable than 
the innate state of mind that it seeks to legitimize and interpret 

Let me describe how I picture to myself, for the moment, the 
relationship between Christ and the Universe. 

In a general way I think that the co-extension of Christ and 
the World must be understood primarily in the sense of a physical, 
organic, influence exerted by Christ on the essential movement 
(or the sum total of the essential movements) that causes the 
Universe to grow (= creative or transforming action). 

That being so, let us, to simplify matters, say that: o = the 
natural term (x) of human (and cosmic) advances; and to =* the 
supernatural term (plenitude of Christ) of the Kingdom of God. 1 

I conceive three principal relations between o and a> : 

I. Either o and o> are two disparate (independent) terms develop* 
ing on two different planes within the same created activity 



(for example, en is the product of human actions regarded as 
moral and 'effected for God 9 ; and a is the fruit, with no value for 
the supernatural world, of those same actions in so far as they 
achieve their end in this world of time). 

2. Or o and <o are two antagonistic terms , each tending to eliminate 
the other, so that every point at which created activity comes in 
is a place where there is a choice between, and a separation 
between, o and o> (= the doctrine of renunciation, pure and 

3. Or, finally, o and <a are two hierarchically ordered terms, co 
being a magnification of o, which it has taken to itself and 
sublimated, "along its initial axis 9 . (For example, we can conceive 
how natural human effort and grace work together, each for an 
essential part, in the development of Spirit: Spirit continues to 
produce itself in its natural substance at the same time as God 
elevates it to the supernatural order. In such conditions, the 
World is not merely an exercise-ground: it is a work to be carried 

The first of these hypotheses seems to me to be dualist and 
spurious, neither one thing nor the other. (I have criticized it at 
length in Cosmic Life.) 

I find the second theoretically attractive; but in practice it 
seems to me inhuman and impossible to reconcile: 

1. either with the practice of the Church, which has always 
openly encouraged human work and given it her blessing; 

2. or with the most elementary religious psychology, which 
discloses a strict connection between the natural expansion of 
human faculties and their capacity for love of God. The Universe 
stimulates the 'zest for being 9 , and provides the nourishment which 
are transformed into love of God. To my mind, at least, this 
process is extremely clear: Heaven cannot dispense with Earth. 

Until further orders, therefore, I hold to the third solution, 
which has the advantage of being directly suited to my double 
instinctive need: 



1. to feel God underlying all natural energy, and 

2. to find a universal, absolute, value in all human action (nan 
solum quoad operationem, sedetiam quoad opus). 

In a real and literal sense we may say, if we accept the hypo- 
thesis of Christ's adopting and supernaturalizing of the natural 
evolution of the World, quidquidpatimur 9 Christus agit and quidquid 
agimus, Christus agitut - whatever is done to us, it is Christ who 
does it, and, whatever we do, it is to Christ we do it. 

This way of looking at human activity and passivity as integrally 
sanctified and divinized has become so familiar to me that it is no 
effort to me to live with it. I find in it an ease and breadth of 
movement, a clarity of judgement and decision, which make me 
earnestly wish that many others besides myself should understand 
and adopt the same position. 

It is most important to note that this concept of the World's 
conjoined ends (natural and supernatural) has nothing in common 
with a theory of hedonism or 'hold fast to all you have*. 

Its aim is, no doubt, to channel towards God, to harness 
for Heaven, the whole of the World's drive towards the Beautiful 
and the Good. But it maintains (as does every theory of true 

1. that natural progress, as well as supernatural, underlies 
individual work and renunciation. 

2. that natural development is subordinated to the kingdom of 

3. that the centre of gravity of human effort gradually shifts 
towards the concerns of heaven as certain fields of lower activity 
are left behind or exhausted (it is thus that virginity tends to 
replace the marital state). 



Having admitted that Christ coincides with the Universe, by 
virtue of being the universal Centre common to cosmic progress 
and gratuitous sanctification, we have now to discover whether we 
can go further in our elaboration of his divine co-extension with 
the World: in other words, we must form an idea ofthe law of 
the transformation of all things in Ipso and per Ipsum. 

Such a formulation has seemed possible to me. 

I have thought (cf. 'Creative Union ) that the entire develop- 
ment of the supernaturalized World, seen through man's 
experience, might well assume the form of a vast movement of 
unification, converging towards Christ. 

I have tried, accordingly, to show that the successive advances 
of created being, from its first appearance out of Non-being until 
the formation of rational soul, until the incorporation ofthe elect 
in the mystical Body of Our Lord, are connected with (if not due to) 
the progressive reduction of an initial plurality. On this hypo- 
thesis, the differentiation of beings (which is the immediate term 
of their individual perfection) is no more than the preliminary to 
an ever closer and more spiritual union of the elements of the 
Universe. The unique attraction of Christ animates this great effort 
towards self-concentration made by created Spirit. 

The advantages of this theory (of creative Union) are as follows: 

i. Firstly , philosophically: 

a. it satisfies simultaneously the monist and pluralist tendencies 
which clash so distressingly, I believe, in every mind that is 
impressed by the real need to reach some small understanding 
of the World (the unity of the World is brought about by our 
fidelity in individualizing ourselves); 

b. it also reconciles the postulates of materialism and (using the 
word in the wide sense) spiritualism. Although matter is not 
volatilized (a temptingly easy solution, but one contrary to 
dogma), it is dethroned by Spirit, to which, nevertheless, it serves 
as a support. The whole coherence and ontological value ofthe 


Universe depend, in fact, upon Spirit, which alone locks together 
in itself, and interlocks, the elements that constitute the World . . . 
This perception of the soul's annexation of the attributes that most 
attracted me in Matter, has been, I believe, one of the last great 
advances in my thought. 

2. Secondly, mystically: creative Union satisfies me (though 
I should rather say that 'I find satisfaction in it') because it 
reduces all the World's movement to a communion. Communion 
becomes the unique and essential act of the World; in other words, 
it takes on the qualities of universality and the absolute that I 
persist in trying to give to everything I love 'absolutely'. The 
fact is that die system of 'creative Union was born in my mind 
from the need to generalize, and to link indissolubly to the structure 
of the World, what we know of the mystical Body and of union 
with Jesus. 

For me, the best philosophy will always be that which allows me 
most fully to feel Christ, necessarily, and everywhere. 

I can readily understand that the theory of creative Union calls 
for rectifications, if not in its central core (where it is close to 
Christ), at least in its extension to the initial creation and the 
formation of the soul. 

Nevertheless, I must emphasize here: 

In seeking to reduce everything to union, my aim has not been 
so much to find a metaphysical solution for the Universe as to 
discover an historical pattern, practically applied, in the develop- 
ments of Creation. 

Supposing it were proved that the creation and spiritualization 
of beings can in no way be reduced to the mechanism of a 

It would even then be true that a progressive unification of things 
accompanies, and is the measure of, their entitative augmentations. 

Union would still be the apparent, empirical, law that governs 
the perfection and sanctification of creatures. 

That is all I ask. 



Whatever may be the corrections, more or less radical, that must 
be applied to the solution I have found for the "problem of my 
life', one point will remain indisputable: and that is the concern to 
unify my interior vision, of which I am so vividly aware that many 
others must, I am sure, feel it as strongly as I do. 

The supernaturalization of the World does more than provide 
theologians with abstract difficulties. 

It introduces into the heart of practical life an appearance of 
duality which, to my mind, it is important to express in definitively 
precise terms, and to reduce, so far as possible, by a complete, 
systematic, solution. 

i. The man who really wishes to live his Christianity im- 
mediately finds himself confronted by a most perplexing dualism 
in effort; how is he to reconcile renunciation of the World (neces- 
sary to life in Christ) with ardour for the Earth (indispensable to 
man's effort)? 

2. And this dualism in action has its source in (or extends into) 
a much more serious dualism of religious feeling. The soul feels 
itself caught, in no metaphorical sense, between two absolutes: that 
of experience (the Universe) and that of Revelation (transcendent 

Judging by my own case, I would say that the great temptation 
of this century (and of the present moment) is (and will increasingly 
be) that we find the World of nature, of life, and of mankind 
greater, closer, more mysterious, more alive, than the God of 

The tendency to pantheism is so universal and so persistent 
that there must be in it a soul (a naturally Christian soul) of truth 
which calls for 'baptism'. 

I am convinced that the dogmas and practice of the Church 
have long provided us with all the elements required for this 

For the glory of Our Lord and the triumph of his Truth, for 



the peace of many men of good will, I therefore cry out with all 
my strength for die moment when the age-old rules of Christia|i 
ascesis and direction (still, maybe, too empirical) will be brought 
together into a more organic and more rational code. 

And I wish too - with all the longing I have to love God- that 
the elements of truth, universally believed and professed by the 
Church, relating to the action and universal presence of God and 
of Christ - that these may at last be examined as one whole , and 
with no dilution. 

Then, perhaps, we shall be astonished to see how many of those 
considerations that have appeared in my writings to be forced, 
hazardous, or extravagant, derive quite naturally (they or their 
equivalents) from the most authentic and most practical beliefs of 
our faith - once we take the trouble to bring those beliefs together, not 
simply into an idiom, but into a coherent reality. 


It is not difficult to see how the tendency whose predominance I 
favour in Christian practice and in the interpretation of dogma, 
is exposed to a double danger: 

i. So to magnify the Universe as to eclipse or 'materialize' God. 

2. Cause the natural resources and affective powers of life to be 
used even to the point where we are allowed to profit from them 
and enjoy them, in a merely pagan spirit. 

Both these mistakes would be exaggerations such as every truth is 
liable to suffer from. 

Their avoidance is a matter of Catholic good sense and of 
Christian prudence. 

Ay (Marne), 14 April 1918 

I. For this distinction and Pere Teilhard's later elaboration of his theme, see the Note at 
the head of 'The Soul of the World' (in Writings in Time of War, p. 177). There it will be 
seen how o finally disappeared, absorbed by a>, in virtue of o's representing the end of die 
Universe's natural evolution. 




This piece was written in Strasbourg immediately after Forma Christi. 
When making a fair copy (and the manscript we have before us 
shows hardly any erasures) Pfcre Teilhard dated it the feast of the 
Epiphany. In fact, it would appear that it was some days later that the 
essay was completed, for we find him writing to Marguerite Teillard- 
Chambon on 8 January: 

Tve let myself get a bit behind-hand with you because of drawing up 
my little "manifesto", which I've almost finished today. Here and there, 
I've used rather forceful language, but I believe Tve never said more 
than I sincerely believe, nor written without an over-riding love for 
the Church that alone can assure us the joy of possessing Our Lord. 
What I have primarily tried to do, is to make myself understood by 
friends: and so I've sought above all to be straightforward and clear. 9 

He then mentions his intention of sending what he has written to 
Pere L£once de Grandmaison, but not, on this occasion, with a view to 
publication in Etudes or Recherches de science retigieuse: 'I trust him to 
guide me, to suggest practical methods (if occasion arises) and also at 
die right time to influence my superiors 9 decisions. Dont forget to pray 
a little for me, will you? 9 . 

Again, on n January, he writes: 

'About my Note sur TApostolat, I sent it yesterday to P&re de Grand- 
maison with a very frank letter ... I felt it was better to speak frankly 
in an explanation that amounts, in fact, to a disclosure of conscience. 
Before sending it to anyone else, I'll wait to see what P&re L£once 
thinks about it. 9 (The Making of a Mind, pp. 273-5.) 

What we have, then, is a confidential document. In content, it is of 
more or less the same nature as 'Mastery of the World 9 . Throughout all 
P&re Teilhard 9 s life, he was to persevere in returning to the same theme, 
without substantial modifications, in particular in his answer to the 



questionnaire on modern unbelief sent out by La Vie Intelkctuelle 
(i933)» i& bis 'Reflections on the conversion of the World 9 (1936), 'The 
Awaited Word* (1941), and "The Heart of the Problem" (1949). It was 
only that the 'faith in the world' he hoped to see more heartily wel- 
comed by those who have authority in the Church was to assume for 
him, ever more distinctly, the form of a "propulsive 9 faith, driving 
'towards the Ahead 9 . See also "Faith in Man 9 (January 1947), in The 
Future of Man, p. 185; address to the international congress of die 
Society of Jesus, Versailles (August 1947) in Science and Christ, p. 199.* 

* The text published here follows Pere Teilhard's manuscript, as do all the others. That 
printed earlier in the Cahiers Pierre Teilhard de Chardin, no. 4 (1963) reproduces a typed 
version authenticated by Pere TeilhardY signature; it is, however, considerably shorter 
and contains slight but numerous variations. In two or three instances these would appear 
to be explained by the author's wish to express himself more exactly (for example, 'the 
adherence of unbelievers to the faith' - Vadhtsion des incridules d lafd - for 'the fideist 
adherence of unbelievers' - Tadhisionfidtiste des incridules). At other times, by the wish 
for greater simplicity (e.g. *in the Church' for 'in Israel'); and at other times, again, by 
inadvertence or misreadings. 

The great converters, or perverters, of men 
have always been those in whom the soul of 
their age burnt the most intensely. 


Effectively to influence a vital current, whatever it may be, a man 
must himself belong to that current. It is only a craftsman who 
can be understood by craftsmen. Only a geologist or a soldier can 
speak to geologists or soldiers. Only a Man can make himself 
heard by Men. 

We have in our day, as I shall show, a natural religious move- 
ment of great force. 

We Christians, we priests, do we realize that if we are to 
influence it and supernaturalize it (and that is what is really meant 
by the conversion of the world) it is essential that we share - non 
verbo tantum, sedre-in its drive, in its anxieties and its hopes ? 

So long as we appear to wish to impose on the men of today 



a ready-made Divinity from outside, then, surrounded by the 
multitude though we may be, we shall inevitably be preaching in 
the desert. 

There is only one way of enthroning God as sovereign over 
the men of our time: and that is to embrace the ideal they reach 
out to; it is to seek, with them, the God whom we already possess 
but who is as yet amongst us as though he were a stranger to us. 

Who is the God whom our contemporaries seek, and how can 
we succeed m finding him, with them, in Jesus? 

It is of this I wish to write^r this is something I have felt} 


The deep-rooted religious movement of our age seems to me to be 
characterized by the appearance (in the consciousness of man) of 
the Universe - seen as a natural Whole, mote noble than Man - and 
therefore equivalent, for Man, to a Go J (finite or infinite). 

The features of this God are still indistinct. It is not so much his 
brilliance we see as that of the aureole that surrounds him, in that 
quarter where lie Life, Truth, and Spirit. - But his radiance is 
beyond all doubt. 

A more exact view of things - replacing a certain illusion 
(geo-, anthropo-, europeo-centric)* - is showing us today our own 
being lost in such a reservoir of energies and mysteries, our own 
individuality subject to so many ties and extensions of itself, our 
civilization surrounded by so many other cycles of thought, that 
the feeling of the crushing dominance of die World over us as 
persons is being impressed upon everyone who shares in the 
vision of his own time. 

Today, thanks to advances in our methods of observation and 
the development of our thinking, the Reality which the so-called 
pantheist 8 mystics have always felt rising up in the heaven of 
souls, is beginning to win recognition even in the mass of mankind. 

Next, although modern Man cannot yet give an exact name 



to die great Being who is being embodied/or him and through him 
in die World, he already knows that he will never worship a 
divinity unless it possesses certain attributes by which he will be able 
to recognize it 

The God for whom our century is waiting must be: 

i. as vast and mysterious as the Cosmos. 

2. as immediate and all-embracing as Life. 

3. as linked (in some way) to our effort as Mankind. 

A God who made the World less mysterious f or smaller, or less 
important to us, than our heart and reason show it to be, that God, - 
less beautiful than the God we await - will never more be He to whom 
the Earth kneels. 

Of this we must be quite clear: the Christian Ideal (as normally 
expressed) has ceased to be what we still complacendy flatter 
ourselves that it is, the common Ideal of Mankind. 

More and more men, if they wish to be sincere, will have to 
admit to the man in the pulpit that Christianity seems to them to 
be inevitably inhuman and inferior, both in its promises of indi- 
vidual happiness 4 and in its precepts of renunciation. 'Your 
Gospel', they are already saying, "leads to the formation of souls 
that have an interest in their own selfish advantages - with no 
interest in the common task; and so it has no interest for us. Our 
concept is better than that: and therefore there is more truth in 

The precedence assumed, in modern consciousness, by the 
Whole over the individual is rapidly tending to produce a new 
moral Ideal, in which justice ranks higher than charity, work than 
detachment, whole-hearted effort to develop than mortification. 

'Christian' and 'Human' are tending no longer to coincide. In 
that lies the great Schism that threatens the Church. 

Let no one declare that this schism is imaginary - or at all events 
that the blame lies entirely with those who are going their own 
Life, as a whole, makes no mistakes. And where is Life to be 



found today ? Can we really say that it is to be found with us ? 

What books are bought by the thousand, if not those which 
outline the religion of a God who is close to us, is progressive, 
is universal - the religion expounded by such sincere and ardent 
thinkers as William James, Schur6, Maeterlinck, Bergson, Wells; 
and so many others? 5 

What voice is listened to in Rome (and in vain do we smile at 
it from our Olympus) if not the voice that says: 1 feel that the 
time has come when men must forget their local attachments and 
unite in a single great enterprise that will unite all free men for 
ever, so to become a single body of free minds' ? (President 
Wilson, 2 January 1919.) 8 

And what, above all, is the summons of the spirit within us? 

For my part, I assert before God, in the hope that my testimony 
may enlighten some of my brothers who have confidence in my 
zeal for perfection but who do not perhaps 'experience' the soul 
of their time to the same degree as I do : 

'Since, as a result of certain experiences (dating back to my 
childhood, and analysed over many long years), I have succeeded 
in "integrating" with my Faith, in (as I shall explain) introducing 
into it, this passion for the Universe which today animates 
"natural" Mankind - since that time, I have the feeling of having 
entered a new World. Compared with the satisfactions and the 
desires I now experience, my former religious life seems to me 
mere childishness. 9 

The truth is that when, after having for some time shared the 
anxieties, the hopes and the activity that give life to the peak of 
Mankind, we come back to certain of our own religious circles, 
we feel we must be dreaming, as we consider what efforts are 
absorbed there in the beatification of a servant of God, in ensuring 
the success of a particular devotion, in the subtle and impossible 
analysis of a mystery. 

We are building our abode in the clouds, and we cannot see 
that Reality ties outside and is striding away from us. 



And yet, if Reality is to reach its fulfilment it has need of us 
Christians. The God of the Bible is not different from the God of 

What, then, does our generation need, for the pantheism of 
one part to be supernaturalized and the Faith of the other to be 
humanized ? For die Schism that threatens us to be replaced by the 
Union that vitalizes ? 

What is needed is that, in the name of the purest essence of 
Revelation, we shall seek to forward, by prayer, by meditation, 
and by example, the conjunction of the two stars whose conflict- 
ing attractions disturb, it would seem, the peace of men of good will 

We must preach and practise what I shall call 'the Gospel of 
human Effort 9 . 


The special apostolate I urge - which aims at sanctifying not 
simply a nation or a social category, but the very axis of mans drive 
towards Spirit- includes two distinct phases: the first, and natural, 
phase providing an introduction to the Christian Faith; and die 
second, supernatural, phase showing (in the light of revelation) 
how far and in what direction earthly activity can be carried. 7 

i. In a first introductory phase, I believe that we must develop - 
in those who believe in Jesus Christ just as much as in unbelievers - 
* fuller consciousness of the Universe that encompasses us, and of our 
capacity to influence its development by our action. 

This religious, mystical, passion smouldering in us, this passion 
for the natural Whole of which we form a part, must (to judge 
from my own case) be nourished and systematized: as much to 
vitalize the religion of the faithful believers as to pave the way 
for the faith-adherence of unbelievers. 

We may conceive a special 'training* for those who are 
absorbed by the narrow view o£the individual; this would aim at 
arousing in them the feeling (fundamental, to my mind, and 
adding such breadth !) of supra-personal Realities. 



As for the others, those who already possess the dominating 
intuition of the Universal, I am convinced that we cannot do 
more useful work for the Kingdom of God than by encouraging 
and confirming them in their vision. 

Going beyond the limited and precarious associations effected 
among nations - the alliances, the large economic or scientific 
unions - 1 believe that it is the part of the Christian (christianorum 
est — ') to raise men to the idea of some human Effort, unique and 
specific, which would bring together all activities: no longer 
merely in the defensive (as we saw at times during the war) but 
in the positive pursuit of a supreme Ideal - an Ideal that cannot 
firil to reach exact definition through our patient and convergent 
efforts towards a larger measure of Truth, of Beauty and of 

To present to men the brilliance (which fits in with what they 
have today a presentiment of), and to share with them the hope, of 
some crowning glory for the Universe - and, in order to do this, 
to neglect nothing when it is a question of associating them in the 
unity of one single terrestrial faith: such, to my mind, should be 
the human, preparatory, form of our zeal and our preaching. 

And, working in this field, we Christians would be fully 
associated with the most noble and most vital section of our 
contemporaries, whatever their religious convictions. 

2. Revelation can then be introduced 8 into a Mankind that 
has thus been sensitized and unified by the religious expectation of 
some soul of the World. 

The strictly Christian, "esoteric 9 phase of the Evangelization 
'of human Effort 9 would consist (as I see it) in presenting Jesus 
Christ to men as the very Term, already vaguely apprehended by 
them, of universal development: men being able (by virtue of 
the supernaturalization of the World) to reach consummation 
only in his Unity; and he needing, in order to attain his plenitude, 
to drive his roots into the totality of each one of them. 

Surely it is the very core of the teachings of St John and St Paul 
that * every creature, in the whole of its self acquires its full development, 



its fall determination, its foil personality, only In Christojesu'1 

'Everything in the Cosmos is for Spirit 9 ; that, in natural terms, 
is the verse, 

'Everything, in Spirit, is for Christ 9 : and that, in supernatural 
terms, is the verse of the Gospel that our modern World needs. 

In this revelation, it is clear, lies the supreme consecration of 
human Effort - It is not only that by a 'good 9 intention Man 
can invest all he does with a certain merit: the substance of his 
handiwork (even the natural substance) - that is to say each new 
step in vital fulfilment that he makes good, for himself or for the 
Species - appears to be such that it can be integrated in an absolute 
Term to the World: Jesus Christ, the individual head, and 'uni- 
versal Form 9 of the Elect.* 

There is, in truth, a secret message, explanatory of the whole 
of Creation, which, by allowing us to feel God in everything we 
do and in everything that is done to us (God creating in all 
things and being born in all things) can bring true happiness to 
our generation . . . That man hears the message by whom the 
Universe is seen to be the universal Species in which - by 
infinitely diverse but real ways - Christ is incarnate: incarnate 
through the combined action of determinant and liberating 
factors, and of grace. 

And that secret message is: Hoc est Corpus nteum. 1 * 

The universal 'consecration 9 , the universal communion, that 
is to say the possible convergence of all created efforts (opus and 
operatio) upon God, and their adoption into the final Reality of 
Christ - that is what we have to show to the Men of our day if we 
wish them to make their way to God, and to do so ex toto corde 

It is, in fact, from this point of view alone that Christ is seen in 
the extension of the human Ideal - and the God of the Christians 
emerges as identical with the deity of whom the Earth dreams: as 
great, as immediate, as concerned in our progress, as the Universe. 

It is not enough that we demonstrate the theoretic possibility of 



the coincidence of the two Ideals, the natural and the revealed, 
(the one extending beyond the other, but running along the same 
axis). The decisive argument that will convince the World of 
the reality of our God will be the demonstration of the conjunction 
of the two attractions, the heavenly and the earthly, realized in a 
life that is folly human because folly Christian. 

After we have meditated in our own minds, and preached to 
those we move among, the Gospel of human Effort, we shall 
have to practise it; and that means that our own behaviour must 
provide an example of what can be effected in man by his passion 
for the World when it has been transformed by the love of Jesus 

1. In the first place I believe that a Christian has a sacred, priestly 
vocation, essential to the Church, to associate himself- in his 
passion for Christ and in order to fulfil Christ - with the Artificers 
of the Earth. 

We have had many examples of men who have devoted them- 
selves to study within Religion, in order to exalt or defend Religion. 
But when shall we find priests and religious who will leave 
behind this externalism and will seek and study through religion, 
religiously; by that I mean with the distinct and professed con- 
sciousness that the least of their achievements in the natural field 
provides nourishment for souls and thereby serves, in a word, to 
bring about the growth of the Body of Christ ? 

I pray that the number of those will soon be legion, who under- 
stand that a priest, as priest, can devote himself to Science or 
Sociology - and that his real work lies there just as much at least 
as in concentrating on funeral services. 

How sad it is and how disastrous that we have allowed the 
Ministers of life to become for the vast majority almost exclusively 
'the people who bury you . u 

2. In the specific domain of religious truths, we shall have to 
remain faithful to the belief in the sanctity of human Effort, which 
we will have proved by our concern to be the first to arouse the 
Earth, in the name of our Christianity. 



We have been taught habitually to regard Revelation as a 
splendour that sheds a clear light on the whole structure of the 
World. If we are not to win no more than a smile from the 
Gentiles, and above all if we are not to discourage them from 
joining us as being over-ingenuous or too ready to under- 
estimate the Universe, we must with all urgency restore to their 
just proportions the gifts God has given us in Scripture. The 
divine Truth is still not a Sun for us; it is no more than a small 
star shining in the depth of night. 

We have learnt from Jesus Christ and the prophets in what 
direction and towards what term the centre (the kernel) of our 
petty being is moving. Of the extensions into which the World 
and our own person develop, of the historical phases and physical 
conditions of our return to God, we know practically nothing at 
all We are moving through darkness towards a luminous point; 
and if we do not defend our vision with real determination, if at 
every moment we do not recapture it, the very sight of the star will 
escape us. u 

There you have the beauty of real fact. 

The man who wishes to hold on to his vision must fight unremittingly 
for light. The Christian, too, is subject to that noble and austere 
law which links together mind and Truth. 

That is why a Church that did not continually (impossible 
though such a concept is) look for her God as though she might 
lose him (I was on the point of saying 'as though she did not 
already possess him 9 ) would be a dead Church, melting into 
nothingness in the ocean of human Thought. 

Could we but say such things to men, a little more clearly - 
could they but feel that we know as intimately as they do the 
anguish and the richness of doubt - would they hate us so bitterly 
as tyrants over their minds and strangers to their souls ? 

One conclusion emerges unmistakably, I believe, from what I 
have said above: that at this moment the great task that Theology 
must undertake is precisely to ensure that the star of Bethlehem 



is not eclipsed by die new star (die World) rising over Mankind. - 
In all branches of sacred Science the time has come to examine, 
through study and prayer, the area in which God and the Cosmos 
come together. 

a. In dogmatics, our teachers, after having for so long analysed 
divine relationships 4 ad intra' , must at last sympathetically embark 
on the study of the relationships ad extra that subordinate the 
Universe to God. Modern thought demands this imperatively: 
and the persistence of heresies, all thrusting in this direction, is 
the sign of a deep-seated human anxiety that looks for satisfaction. 

While pagan mythologies are shot through with vague but 
illuminating suggestions of the involution of souls, of divine 
incarnations, of the association of Evil and Being, it is astonishing, 
as we look around us, to note how artificial, and almost infantile, 
is the normal Christian way of presenting the origins and 
vicissitudes of the World. 

In making God personal and free, Non-being absolute, the 
Creation gratuitous, and the Fall accidental, are we not in danger 
of making the Universe intolerable and the value of souls (on 
which we lay so much emphasis !) inexplicable ? 

Is it really true that there is nothing to be found in Scripture 
that could give us a more elevated picture of the events that 
sweep us along with diem and of the real values contained in our 
own selves - a picture with more meaning and more in harmony 
than of old with the grand idea we are building up of the Uni- 
verse? 1 * 

There was some good, maybe, in Gnosis. 

b. In morals 9 1 take it that the time has come when (without 
even in the least degree rationalizing the Christian virtues) we 
must nevertheless examine in what ways they harmonize with 
the experiential orientations of human progress: what, for 
example, is the 'physical* function of Charity in the formation of 
the Body of Christ, or what is the role of chastity in the 
spiritualization of die soul ? 

Love (c/xos — eros) underlies so many things that matter to 



Man, his salvation or his loss ; it is die very stuff, maybe, of all our 
important desires. Is it not incredible that after so many centuries 
of frowning on it and curbing it not one of our writers has con- 
tinued Plato's work and considered whence that passion comes 
and whither it leads, what it contains of evil or impermanence, 
and, on the other hand, what element in its power should be care- 
fully nursed so that it may be transformed into love of God P* 

From another angle, the ever vaster organizations that are 
being formed (or disclosed) in the World are tending to produce 
a new category of duties; and room must be made for these along- 
side the old commandments. Morality has hitherto been indi- 
vidualistic (the relations of individuals to individuals). In future 
more explicit emphasis will have to be laid on Man's obligations 
to collective bodies and even to the Universe: on political duties, 
social duties, international duties - on (if I may be allowed the 
expression) cosmic duties, first among which stands the Law of 
Work and Research. 

In the sphere of responsibilities, a new horizon is opening up for 
our contemporaries, and into this Christianity must, as a matter of 
absolute necessity, extend the radiance of its light: otherwise it 
will have to pay the price of lagging behind in its teaching and of 
allowing mans conscience to shape itself with no reference to our faith. 

c. Finally, in ascetics: we can see that if many in Israel are to 
enjoy peace and be free to expand, we must find a truly com- 
prehensive formulation of Christian renunciation; without in any 
way minimizing the doctrine of the Cross, this must nevertheless 
integrate in Christian effort all the dynamic contained in the lofty 
enthusiasms of the human race. 

In their preoccupation with speculative arguments, theologians 
forget this: that to reconcile, with practical effectiveness, natural 
and supernatural in a single harmonious orientation of human 
activity is a problem a thousand times more acute than all the 
difficulties we may accumulate about the essential nature of 



If we are to solve that problem we must show that Renunci- 
ation is far from robbing nature ofits richness, nor does it make the 
Christian despise the Universe: it proceeds essentially from human 
Effort, - true Chastity and true Contemplation being the magnified 
forms, extended in their innate directions, of human activity and 

The Christian choice, therefore, should be presented as one 
not, in fact, between Heaven and Earth, but between two efforts 
to fulfil the Universe intra or extra Christum. 

The results of such a demonstration would be immense. 

Quite apart from the dissipation of obstinate prejudices in 
hostile hearts, there would be what nobody, I believe, now 
realizes: the solace brought to many righteous souls, and the 
new impulse towards Jesus Christ they would feel if it was taught 
unambiguously that Our Lord can really be sought and attained 
by all man's vital forces - sought and attained 'like a World 9 , taking 
shape from a starting point in our World 1 * 

I am convinced that every doctrinal progress that, on any 
point at all, will thus contribute to harmonizing the image and 
the love of the God of our Faith with the natural aspirations and 
beliefs now rooted in the heart of man - that every such progress 
means one more harvest of souls for the kingdom of God. 

To extend the kingdom of God to new peoples is well enough. 
But it is still better, and more direct, to make it penetrate into die 
deep-rooted 'nisus 9 or "thrust 9 in which Mankind's desires are 
today combining. If we could succeed in planting love of Jesus 
Christ at that exact point, we would be amazed at seeing the 
torrent of peoples who would spontaneously take the road back to 

The World can be converted and saved only by the super- 
natural, but it must be by a supernatural harmonized with the 
natural religious tendency proper to each century. 16 

There is a chapter in the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius entitled 



'ad sentiendum cum Matte Ecclesia*. - Let us remember that, to be a 
true Mother, the Church, in turn, must be Mc'sentirecumhomini- 

For the past century (and more recently, during the war) there 
have been many points on which there has been a failure on our 
part to understand the anxieties and desires of the Earth: by not 
sharing in the great instinctive currents that control the direction 
of natural Life, we have found ourselves obliged to fall back on the 
anaemic counsels of 'human prudence 9 . 

Because I am conscious of experiencing with great intensity 
the aspirations (as others experience the frequent sense of com- 
passion) that dwell in the soul of my time, I regard it as a duty to 
bear this witness to my brothers in the apostolate (the fruit of a 
personal, prolonged, and unmistakable experience): 

'The only Gospel that can draw our society towards Jesus 
Christ (and the only Gospel, in fact, whose influence I can feel) is 
that which will show God at the term of a greater Universe, one 
in which there will be mote for Man to work upon. 

'If we, who are Apostles, wish to reach the mind and heart of 
Mankind for the sake of Jesus Christ, then we - seekers, ourselves, 
for the Truth, - must bring to those who are seeking, the news of a 
greater work to be accomplished that calls for the whole entire body of 
their effort/ 

Strasbourg, Epiphany 1919 

x. With this we may compare a sentence, for example, from the beginning of 'How I 
Believe* (1934), in Christianity anh Evolution, p. 97: 'On an individual scale, may we not 
see in this the particular solution, at least in outline, of the great spiritual problem which 
the vanguard of mankind, as it advances, is now coming up against?' Or again, the fol- 
lowing from The Christie' (1955), above, p. 82: What follows 'constitutes the evidence 
brought to bear, with complete objectivity, upon a particular interior event, upon a par- 
ticular personal experience, in which I cannot but distinguish the track followed by a 
general drift of the Human as it folds in upon itself? 

2. At this date Pere Teilhard had left Europe only to go to Egypt; but he was already 
universalizing his view of facts and problems. 

3. This same suspicion of pantheism was attached to Pere Teilhard, whose language is 
often very close to that of Christian mystics. 



4. Wells, in God the Invisible King, expresses no desire for personal immortality* 
The same admission could be found in Maeterlinck, William James, and many other 
writers.* It is open to argument. What matters is that the assertion put forward by these 
writers (who are seekers) should be sincere and that it should stimulate a far-reaching echo 
in their circle. 

This example shows to what an extent some of our 'proofs of Christianity* are being 
transformed. (Note by Pere Teilhard.) 

* That is why Pere Teilhard was constantly to insist on collective, universal, death, as 
he had already done at that date in The Great Monad*. 

5. These, again, are writers whom Pete Teilhard had read attentively. He speaks at 
length of Schure* in his letter of 13 December 1918 (The Making of a Mind, pp. 267-8) and 
of Wells in letters of 1, 5, 11 and ujanuary 1919 (ibid. pp. 270-1, 273, 276, 277). A number 
of passages in his essays, without saying so in so many words, outline their refutation. 

6. Even in Bolshevist extremes we can detect this modern concern to approach all 
problems sub ratione Universil (Note by Pere Teilhard.) 

7. Through all the successive variations in his point of view, Pere Teilhard was always 
to retain in his apologetic work this distinction between the two parts. Here we may note 
the metaphor of the 'axis' which was to recur frequently in his last years. 

8. A deliberately vague expression, used with an eye to a possible Christian revelation. 
A year before, he had written The Soul of the World' and placed as an epigraph: 'Et vote* 
bitur nomen ejus Emmanuel' f but he appeared still to distinguish between this 'Soul' and 
'Emmanuel'; \ . . the soul of the world and Christ are not in opposition: they carry their 
being further in the identity of one and the same Reality*. When writing the essay 
printed here, his point of view is less theoretical, but he seems to be more fully aware that 
there is no initial unification of the world apart from Christ. C£ Introduction to The 
Soul of the World* in Writings m Time of War. 

9. The supernatural subsists by transforming (re-creating or ultra-creating, ultra 
creando) a vital sap which has to be constantly supplied to it by the natural effort of life. 
(Note by Pere Teilhard.) 

10. This passage is, in a way, an advance summary of the whole of Le Milieu Divin 
(intention and work; activity and passivity; growth of Christ and consecration of the 
world becoming for the believer the divine milieu). He has not yet, however, achieved a 
proper balance in his expression. 

ii. In the exaggerated language and the rather far-retched contrasts we see that Pere 
Teilhard is anxious to impress his view on the minds of the responsible authorities to 
whom this memorandum is addressed. 

12. C£ Psalm 118. 105 : Lucemapedibus meis et lumen semitis meis, a lamp to my feet and a 
light to my paths. 

13. Here we have a summary of the metaphysical programme Pere Teilhard was to 
put forward in 'My Universe' (1924) and return to in 'My Fundamental Vision' (1948)* 
without ever developing it fully. 

14. We meet the same problem in The Eternal Feminine', and it recurs more than once 
later: The Spirit of the Earth' (1931) in Human Energy, pp. 29-47; 'Sketch of a personalistic 
Universe' (1936), ibid. pp. 48-92; The Phenomenon of Spirituality*, ibid. 93-"2; 
'Human Energy* (1937) ibid. pp. 113-62; The Atomism of Spirit' (1941) in The Activation 
of Energy, pp. 51-3. We should note the word 'transformed*, which establishes an equival- 
ence between transformation and supernaturalization (c£ Pere Teilhard's note 9, above). 

15. We find the same later in his correspondence with Blondel, 12 December 1919* 
where he says that he agrees with Blondel in thinking that 'Christ must be loved as a 
World, or rather as the World, that is to say as the physical centre of ultimate deter- 



miration and of true consistence imposed on everything in Creation that is to survive.* 
(Archives de Philosophic, 1961, p. 135; vol. 24.) 

16. We may say that the complete cycle of interior (and apostolic) life for the Christian 
comprises three phases: 

1. Participationinthchopcs and troubles of his time (that is to say 'incarnating himself in 

a. Integration of this human force into supernatural life in such a way as to develop a 
single effort towards the spiritualization of being. 

3. Sublimation of human effort by causing it to attain (through an extension of itself) 
the higher forms of activity,* which are purity, contemplation, death in Goi.\ (Note by 

* That which seems the less active is, to the eyes of faith, the 'higher form of activity*. . 

t In this 'Note on the presentation of the Gospel' Pere Teilhard, contrary to his normal 
practice, has enlarged on only one aspect of things, because he is addressing Churchmen 
who have no need, he thought, to be reminded of the second aspect. 



To Marguerite Teillard-Chambon, from Paris, 20 April 19 19: 'For 
some mornings now I've been writing The Names of Matter. I expect FU 
finish it tomorrow. It makes quite a readable little essay, and could 
serve as an introduction to The Spiritual Power of Matter. 9 (The Making 
of a Mind, p. 294.) 

It will be noted that all P&re Teilhard means to do in this essay is 
'introduce some sort of possible order 9 into the various ways in which 
matter is understood, or the various sorts of matter, and to show how 
we may picture' their relationships. 

Nothing is at the same time closer to us and further away from us 
than Matter. We can touch it, we believe; we might say that it 
even penetrates into our minds; at every moment, as we shall 
see, it is in some way being bom in our minds. And then, when 
we try to take hold of it, to rationalize it, to understand it, it 
evades us; it retreats indefinitely into the background (as God 
withdraws ahead) as we analyse and grasp it, putting an ever 
greater distance between itself and our intellectual constructions 
and our sense of fellowship. 

And the reason is that while Matter is welded into our being, it 
lies at the same time at the opposite pole from our soul. 

While we cannot distinguish, as we look ahead, where our 
road is leading us, we can see, as we look down, the abyss from 
which we are emerging. All around our spirit, Matter is the deep 
from which our substance emerges. When we examine it, and 
think that it is so close as to be touching us, we find in fact that 
our eyes are travelling over and seeing as one blur an immensely 
thick layer of existence: they are lost in the infinite that lies 
behind us. 



So distant and so complex, for all its appearance of unity and 
intimate closeness, Matter cannot but puzzle and disturb us. This 
it has always done. Our empirical knowledge of it and our instinct 
(since we cannot understand it) causes us alternately to exalt and 
vilify it We say that it is eternal, or at least indestructible - stable, 
unifying, powerful, overflowing with life - but then we add that 
it is evil also, maleficent, distressful, mechanical, dead, subject to 
decay ... 

What I wish to do here is to introduce some sort of possible 
order into the various contradictory names that have been given 
to Matter over the centuries. And to this end I shall use (as a 'key* 
to classification) the point of view of 'creative Union 9 . 

This, I may remind you, consists in admitting that in our 
Universe every further degree of being (that is to say of spirituality) 
coincides with a further degree in the unification of an initial and 
extremely dispersed Multiple, which is the lowest aspect of die 
World, die form in which it comes closest to Non-being. 'Plus 
esse est plus, a pluribus, uniri' (More being is die uniting of more 
from more.) 'Deus treat uniendo (God creates by uniting). 
According to this hypothesis, each more spiritual monad is formed 
by the organization of a pleiad o£Uss spiritual monads, following a 
completely new principle of union. This forma miens, unitive 
form, which is distinct from the pleiad it spiritualizes (= which it 
is its essence to spiritualize) can itself be diffuse: and then, when 
the structure it has made to cohere disintegrates, it also disappears 
-or (as in the case ofMan) it may be perfecdy centred (owing to 
the very complexity of the body it animates), in which case, after 
appearing in the operation of an act of union, it can survive die 
dissociation of the elements which it brought together. - It can 
subsist 'unanchored'e even without uniting anything actu (actu- 
ally) - it is immortal. 

If we accept this view, and position ourselves in a phase of the 
Universe (our own phase here and now) in which die Multiple 
is in process of reduction or convergence (» an wvolutive, as 
opposed to an evolutive phase) we may picture to ourselves as 



follows the various circles of Matter that are formed, acquire 
complexity, and disintegrate. 

i. (formal matter) 

In a being (in a monad) Matter is fundamentally that which makes 
the monad capable of being united to other beings, in such a way as 
to form with them a new and more simple Whole. It is not Matter 
that unites (Spirit alone can do that); but it serves as a hand-hold 
for union. It is Matter, in other words, that makes the being (the 
Monad) into Element: into something, that is, which has to 
accept unification in order to be spiritualized. Understood in this 
sense, Matter (Materia formaliter sumpta 9 s. Materialitas, Matter 
taken formally, that is, Materiality) is a positive entitative prin- 
ciple. Defined as that which can be united, it is neither negative, nor 
evil (as the dis-united, 1 for example, would be) and so far from 
disappearing in Spirit, it is in Spirit that it is consummated. 


When we speak of the pure unitable we are, it is clear, introducing 
a co-principle (or, again, a modality) of existence. We are not 
speaking of anything that can subsist in isolation *a parte rei\ 
apart from the thing, (any more than can the prime Matter of the 
Schools or the Thomist essentia). 'Materia formalis 9 does not 
exist outside some principle of union; but it imposes on the 
beings it affects a certain way of coming into existence, a certain 
common original type. - Since the most material being is the 
being closest to the 'pure unitable', concrete Matter will appear in 
the form of the supremely dispersed. The initial state of the Cosmos 
is therefore, by virtue of its materiality, that of an immense 
multiple, of an extreme diffusion and distension. Or, to speak 
more accurately, concrete Matter has no precise beginning: it 
emerges from an abyss of increasing dissociation; in some way it 
condenses, starting from an external, shadowy sphere of infinite 



plurality, whose limitless and formless immensity represents the 
lower pole of being. So soon as we can recognize some con- 
sistence in it, we find that it is formed from an aggregate of 
monads, each of which has already been subject to, and bears 
within itself, an indefinite sum of unions. 

hi. (universal matter) 

Vast and fugitive though the lower circles of nascent Matter 
may be, they delimit and 'inform' sortie Thing. So soon as our 
Universe acquires a recognizable contour, it is no longer (and 
has not been for a long time) a pure aggregate of dissociated 
dements. The interaction of its parts and its global consistence 
would be inconceivable unless some sort of great, inchoate, 8 
vague Soul (a sort of Forma cosmica) made certain for the Pleiad 
(taken as a whole) the unity of a sphere, a current, a rudimentary 
Whole. The totality of the elements contained in this primordial 
envelope represents the single, Universal, Matter, that is to say the 
sum of the elements destined to enter into all the later unifications 
of being (inside the World under consideration). 

iv. (total matter) 

Within this 'first membrane* of the Universe, which is the most 
universal Forma cosmica, an infinite number of collective move- 
ments begin to assert themselves; they mark off (segment) the 
Multiple into so many currents (anastomosed or interlocked) 
along which the mass of primitive monads is drawn, following 
a variety of routes, towards the Centre of all unions. 

The result of this is that at every moment each element of 
the World, taken in the totality of its being, is formed not only by 
what it is within itself, but also by what it serves to integrate 
above itself within universal Matter. If we are fully to define the 
nature of each element of the Cosmos, we have to consider, besides 
the monad (which it constitutes), the pleiad or the pleiads 



(in process of union) of which it is a participating member. 
The richness of a creature depends both on the perfection of its 
form (the principle of union) and on the value of die collective (or 
cosmic) forms that use that creature (temporarily or for ever) to 
build up the higher degrees of union (= spiritualization) in the 

We can understand, then, what an immense difference there is 
between even the humblest Matter, considered in Mundo (I was 
on the point of saying in vivo) and the Matter which we agree to 
call physico-chemical Physico-chemical matter is an abstraction (in 
the strictest sense of the word) obtained by isolating the cosmic 
elements from everything that is a higher unification at a certain 
level 9 As such, it does not exist in die Reality of Things. The 
most chemically pure nitrogen, taken in its totality, (that is to say 
with all its real extensions) includes essentially, besides the pro- 
perties listed by the scientist, all the finalities (completely physical) 
in which it is involved hie et nunc by virtue of the general move* 
ments of the Cosmos and of Life. These immense convergences are 
necessarily impatient of analysis (since they are the framework of 
a higher organization). But they constitute, in part, the richness 
of concrete Matter. And it is the operation of those convergences, 
for example, (and not the value of the so-called physico-chemical 
properties of bodies) which will one day, perhaps, allow the 
synthesis of Life to be realized. - The elements of the World, 
taken together with the sum of their linkages as they converge 
on Spirit: that is what we might call total Matter. 

v. (relative matter) 

In relation to any monads that have reached a certain degree of 
internal concentration, the Universe is necessarily divided into 
two zones: the zone above, in spiritualizing union (= the desired 
but invisible zone) and the zone below, in the extreme of diffusion 
or relative plurality. The higher, simpler and freer zone is the 
domain of Spirit (relative). The lower, more obscure, more 



bound by necessity, represents Matter (relative). 4 To the animal, 
for example, the vegetal is relatively material, and Man (who, 
moreover, is unknowable because rational) is relatively spiritual. 

For every being, the Matter that concerns it (the Matter it can 
feel and know by touch, and from which when the time comes it 
will have to suffer) is primarily, of course, that Thing, less 
unified than the being itself, which surrounds and dominates it. 
It is that above all that we have in mind when we speak of 
Matter. It is to that we address our praises or curses. Let us, then, 
examine it in the case that means most to us - the only one, more- 
over, of which we can speak - that of the human Monad. 

In our Matter we must, I believe, distinguish three parts, that is, 
three different Matters, which I shall call Matter A, B and C. 

A. living matter. - Matter A (or living Matter) comprises the 
still unifiabk (spiritualizable), but not as yet unified, portion of the 

The principal part of this Matter A is formed of human souls 
themselves, taken collectively. However complete and auton- 
omous a spiritual soul may be, it cannot exist in the World in 
isolation, and is not made ever to subsist separately. In reality our 
souls represent the elements, the atoms, of a further structure, 
still higher in spirituality than themselves. While this multitude 
of souls is waiting for higher unification under one and the same 
Spirit, it suffers all the ills of every incompletely organized 
plurality: it forms a Matter. The human mass, as a whole, still 
obeys die same laws of large numbers which allows Science to 
treat gaseous masses or any other particular grouping as a mech- 
anical Thing. To a sufficiently distant observer the sum total of our 
free choices would appear overlaid by determinisms. And we our- 
selves, sunk in this Matter-of-Spirit, are painfully conscious of 
all the cruel discords and insoluble mutual externalities that sub- 
sist in it. Even in the intimate depths of our soul, the vanquished 
multitude we shelter under our completely new unity, is still 



distressingly at work. Who has not felt the rending of a nature 
in which contrary tendencies are developing simultaneously, 
tearing the Spirit apart by their hostile growth? - All this is 
fruitful pain, a suffering that comes with aggregation, an evil 
that comes with growth, within the being. Omnis creatura 
ingemiseit etparturit: every creature groaneth and travaileth. 

Outside the group of our souls, living Matter still contains the 
cowitiessElements ofspiritualization scattered and diffused through- 
out the Universe: energies for bodies, stimulants for soul, shades 
of beauty, sparks of truth. Through the World, God envelops us, 
penetrates us, and creates us. like a little child still clinging to its 
mother's breast, our spirit sends down all sorts of tendrils and 
roots into Materia matrix. It needs that material mother in order 
to live; and the grand role of the soul is to extract - to the last 
drop, were that possible - the spiritual power 6 generously stored in 
the lower circles of the Universe. It is the vocation, and the 
supreme joy, of every Man (even as he builds up his soul) to 
add to this spiritual Reserve a truth, an impulse that works for 
good, a new Element of whatever nature, from which generations 
to come will draw nourishment until the end of time. 

In virtue of its nature, living Matter is fated to suffer reduction, 
to lose its Materiality. 6 But as it advances towards the higher 
zones of Spirit, it leaves behind, like a long furrow, Matter B and 
Matter C. 

B. inverse, or dead, matter. - Matter B is dead Matter or 
inverse Matter •, resulting from the disintegration (whether culpable 
or not, but always painful) o£ living Matter. 

Because the 'life' of inanimate Matter is much longer than our 
own, it seems to us to be immortal. In reality it finally vanishes, 
like everything else, in so far as it does not succeed in entering 
into a principle of spiritual union. Everything in the Universe 
that is not assimilated by a rational soul is, it would certainly 
appear, doomed to destruction - and sooner or later it will re- 



descend the steps of union and vanish in pure Plurality. At all 
times there is a secondary current of descending being, within 
mounting being, in the Universe. 

This dispersal threatens and attacks us most noticeably in our 
bodies - that is only too clear. But we should note that there is for 
Man (and even for the Angels J) a real dissociation and material- 
ization of spirit. - Vice (the flesh) cannot succeed in breaking up 
the spirituality (consummate and indestructible) of our soul, but 
it certainly introduces into it a principle of corruption and internal 
disintegration, 7 which destroys in it the seed of the unifications 
still to come and abandons it to the deathless canker of a decom- 
position that can never kill. - More subtly and more grievously, 
pride, which leads souls astray into selfishness and turns them 
against every principle of further unification, effects an identical 
materialization in us. Direcdy, by halting the convergent move- 
ment of the monads, (and so increasing the Plurality of the 
Universe) it endangers die future spiritualization of the World. 8 
But secondarily, it condemns the soul, as the penalty of its false 
self-emancipation, to falling back, with the flesh, into the subsoil 
of being, exposed to the double torment of external isolation and 
internal fissure. 

The sight of this evil and agonizing Plurality, abandoned by 
the World as so much waste material, readily explains the idea - 
so persistent among men - that the original multiplicity of the 
Cosmos is the trace of some pre-cosmic fall as a result of which a 
Spirit was 'fragmented'. On this hypothesis, the arduous Evolution 
in which we live is the expiatory phase that follows a culpable 

There is certainly a profound (and revealing ?) analogy between 
these often extravagant beliefs and the dogma of original sin. 
The result of the latter, in any case, would appear to be that 
the loosening movement which continually brings about the 
birth of Matter B, is not a mere negative or relative phenomenon 
(as analysis of the concept of Materiality alone might suggest). 



From the Christian point of view, the tendency to Pluralism, 
which asserts itself like a temptation in aU our efforts towards 
unification, represents in fact a real backsliding, an evil twist, the 
memory of some earlier state (= Fomes peccati: the touchwood of 
sin). And this positive retrograde tendency is complicated by the 
equally positive part played by the Powers of Darkness. 

Ex dogmate, evil Matter, which is initially an evil direction 
(the direction of disintegration) in Matter, seems finally to have 
been embodied in a group of habitus and fallen monads, which form 
a real pole of attraction to dissociation at the opposite extreme from 


more or less represents in our human World, Manichaean Matter, 
the evil principle of the Universe. "What I call Matter C corres- 
ponds, on the other hand, to the Matter of the idealist philosophers 
(or to that of the physicists 9 ), that is, to the group of automatisms 
and determinisms in the World. This is secondary or new Matter, 
produced not by any fault or retrogression in being but by the 
progressive and normal operation of spiritual activity. 

A first source of Matter C in us is the very functioning of our 
faculties, as actively exercised/acuities. Every operation (as has long 
been noted) is mechanized at the same time as it is realized. 
Once deliberately made, the act clothes itself in a nascent habit. 
Perception has hardly become conscious before it shrouds itself 
in a familiarity that robs it of its freshness and makes it almost 
unfelt. Thus by a law specific to Life, at the same time as we are 
irresistibly driven (in order to be able to continue to feet) towards 
new forms of activity and perceptions, 10 - a new skin of deter- 
minism and unconsciousness is added, every time we act, to all 
the corporality we already bear within us. The two processes 
(spiritualization and materialization) are strictly tied together in 
our evolution, like the two sides of one and the same medal. 

This first Materiality that our action 'secretes' in itself in the 



form of 'habits', simply by its own specific exercise, is joined by 
another (external to us, but no less rigid) which, on this occasion, 
is caused by the use of our freedom, by our choice. 

At first, it is almost nothing - a decision we take. Its being is 
weak, inconsistent, completely enclosed in our heart - a wrinkle 
that a breath can disperse. Soon, the whole picture changes. As 
time passes and we turn away from the directions our choice has 
eliminated, as secondary choices are grafted on to our choice, and 
the lives that surround us become entangled in the ramifications 
of this axis, a very complicated structure of existence is built up - 
a state is propagated and established through the medium of these 
things that we are now powerless to suppress. Something is 
born by us, which holds firm without us, and is stronger than us. 
We have become the slaves of our freedom. 

Interior automatisms, and exterior situations; we would do 
wrong to condemn unreservedly these two materialized forms of 
our spirit. They are the very conditions of Progress and of the 
organization of beings. They facilitate rapid action, and they 
ensure the stability of the gains made by the passing centuries. 
They provide enduring materials, and form an armature for the 
spiritual structure of the World. Without them nothing would be 
built in duration. 

. . . And yet, in spite of the essential functions performed in our 
World by determinisms, we feel that they represent in us some- 
thing that is precarious and transitory. 

From the heart of as yet un-spiritualized Matter (Matter A), 
from the depths of Spirit in process of continual materialization 
(Matter B and C), human aspiration has always asked the same 
question: 'Who will deliver us from this body of death?' 

vi. (liberated matter) 

According to which section of relative Matter concerns us, we 
obviously have to consider in very different ways the liberation 
that our soul longs for. 



Living Matter, we have seen, is essentially good, transformable 
and enduring. All that offends us in it (that is, the determinisms, 
the discords, the conflicts) is solely due to the insufficiently 
organized, or centred, state of the Elements of which it is made 
up. This inchoateness, this imperfectness, will disappear as the 
residue of pluralism which distresses us is harmonized and inte- 
grated under a higher unitive Principle. In order to spiritualize 
ourselves (here below or elsewhere) in that quarter, we have only 
to make the elements of our being and of the Universe converge 
faithfully, in us and around us, on God. 

Inverse Matter, on the other hand, is committed to a very 
different lot. Its useless part, which cannot be assimilated by 
Spirit, returns to Plurality, to Non-being. As for its immortal 
part, the part to which guilt can be attached, it is true that all oar 
efforts must tend to bring back towards the divine Pole its dis- 
jointed and divergent laminations; it is true, again, that the power 
to 'be converted* is generously granted to it by a Saviour-God - 
but we cannot hope ex revelatione that the whole of its mass will 
finally succumb to the attraction of Spirit. The movement that 
attaches the Universe to Christ is in reality a segregation. A 
portion of evil Matter, permanently cast out, will form the 
irreducible spoilage left by the universal operation of salvation. 
There remains a Massa damnata, in itself not capable of liberation 
- which will nevertheless one day free the Universe from 
its weight, when, like so much jettisoned ballast, it sinks to 
the lower pole of existence. Here we meet a formidable mystery. 11 

There remains secondary Matter. Relieved, by hypothesis, from 
parasitic determinisms (conflicts, blind collective movements and 
so on) which the spiritualization of living Matter will melt away, 
it represents essentially the organic interconnections and determina- 
tions contained, vi originis suae - in virtue of its origin - by spiritual- 
ized being. What freedom may we expect for this secondary 
Matter? An arbitrary revivification of its network would mean 
return to the amorphous or incoherent multiple. We may, 
however, conceive a state in which what is now blind and rigid 



slavery in us, would become supple, mobile and conscious 
equilibrium. Logically, this re-animation of hardened (materialized) 
Matter does not seem impossible. In fact, because of the intimate 
connection between our bodies and the vast portion of the Cosmos 
(Matter B) - which by nature or culpably is incapable of rising as 
far as Spirit - our release from determinisms would seem to be 
impossible to realize in this world. To win freedom, Man must 
die, which means that he must in the first place be cut off from 
all that is not destined to survive with him. In order to attain the 
higher circles of existence he must dissolve the mixed organism 
(made up of interlocking mortal and immortal) that earthly 
life has woven around him. Matter C is the essential constituent 
of the perishable portion of our selves (the chrysalis), the portion 
of which we cannot rid ourselves except by allowing it to drop 
away. At the same time, and strangely, when Matter C is born 
in our spirit we find that it has driven its roots so deep that we 
cannot detach it completely. Even in our 'separated' souls it will 
subsist by virtue of something in it which has the power to 
resuscitate it. 

vii. (resuscitated matter) 

The fact is that something that is material must reappear in order 
to share in the final life of Spirit. Christian hope and Christian 
faith both look to this. In what, then, may we say that resuscitated 
Matter consists? 

It cannot be, it would seem, the re-created sum total of the 
material monads that throughout our life will have served as the 
support of our soul. In the first place it is not clear what purpose 
would be served, in glorified existence, by this lower multiple 
whose power to enrich will have been exhausted in the course 
of the Universe's terrestrial phase. Secondly, why should we 
conceive a reconstitutdon in our substance of certain physico- 
chemical centres, 12 rather than a reconstitutdon either of all sorts 
of micro-organisms whose association has been needed for our 



life to be complete, or even of every living monad which has 
formed part of the same Cosmos as we ourselves ? 

Moreover, it would be too unorthodox to conceive resuscitated 
Mankind as formed solely by the association, in a spiritual body, 
of glorified souls. Something formerly and specifically fleshly 
must be re-born in us . . . 

- If we are to form some sort of picture of the great and welcome 
transformation that is to restore our body, we have to go back 
to what we opened by saying about formal Matter, and consider 
what that has become in the course of time under the influence of 
creative action. 

Matter, we said, is essentially what gives a being the character 
of Element. It is this that makes the being mitable (to other beings, 
in the perfection of a Whole). 

Let us consider human souk, deprived of their bodies. In their 
nature they include the essential need (Materialitas remota) to 
fulfil themselves under the Unity of a common beatifying 
Principle. Morever, this need to be united is not without definition 
or form: born in the process of animating some Matter that has 
been worked upon for a long time, itself an element of an 
immense Universe, every soul possesses in its spiritual unity an 
individual structure of extreme complexity, the mark that betrays the 
unions of which it is the sum, and the expression of the only form 
of contact that can 'wed' it. Separated souls need to be united. 
They are constructed to do so in a very special way in which their 
history is completely reflected. But, so long as their links with 
Matter are broken, it is impossible for them to join together: they 
are not (immediately) unitable. 

Suppose now that God, in realizing their need to unite, 
according to the fabric proper to each one of them, reconstitutes in one 
and the same Cosmos this dust-cloud of floating monads. When 
they have coalesced, they will be able to know the joy of having 
truly re-found a body and a World. Having so coalesced accord- 
ing to the very law of their earthly origin and existence, they will 
in real fact have regained their body and their Universe. 

2 37 


Without the determinisms, or the geometric rigidity, or the 
impenetrability which are the secondary and transient attributes 
of unorganized Plurality: but within all the real power to give 
completion, to inter-communicate, to know the immortality that 
is contained in Number - with no trace of useless multiplicity, 
but bearing in its simplicity the mark of all the multiple of all 
times (as an extension, that is, of Universal Matter) - in those 
conditions and on that day, the Flesh will be truly risen again* 

Matter will have entered its last phase, and will have but one 

Paris, Easter 1919 

I. C£, however, paragraph 5 below (*= p. 239). (Note by Pere Teilhard.) 

a. Cf. the note at the head of The Soul of the World' in Writings in Time of War 9 pp. 


3 . This level is determined by the presence in the multiple of a sufficient proportion of 
determinism, which is due either to a statistical effect of 'large numbers* or to automatism 
appearing in the monads in a secondary mode. (C£ above.) (Note by Pere Teilhard.) 

4. This relative materiality of a part of the Universe in relation to ourselves can per- 
fectly well be temporary or apparent. Temporary, because what is at the moment more 
material than we are is perhaps on the road to a unification higher than our own (such is 
the case of the collection of elect souls in relation to an isolated soul). Apparent, because 
nothing can prove that any particular aspect of the Multiple around us is not the underside 
of certain organic unities, more advanced than we, whose point of convergence and specific 
life are hidden from us. -What knowledge of my human life could be possessed by a being 
assumed to be small enough to live in a molecule of one of the cells of my body ? (Note 
by Pere Teilhard.) 

5. For the meaning of this expression, see The Spiritual Power of Matter 9 * above, p. 

6. Its noxious Materiality, that is to say: conflicts, mutual exteriority of the parts, deter- 
minism. Formal Materiality f capacity for Unification') does not disappear in Spirit, let 
me repeat, but finds its consummation in it. - Throughout this paragraph 5 we are con- 
cerned, it should be remembered, with Materiality relative to our soul (Note by Pere 

7. The inverse effect to that of chastity. (Note by Pere Teilhard.) 

8. The inverse effect to that of charity. - We may note that the first phase of all 
spiritualization - the constitution of a multiple to be unified - represents essentially a 
possibility of (a temptation to) materialization: the multiple when formed can dissociate 
itself instead of uniting itself. - Thus at every moment we are obliged to assert that Spirit 
and Matter, in any thing, are complementary or inverse. (Note by Pere Teilhard.) 

9. Pro parte. In addition to the individual determinisms we are concerned with here, the 
matter of the physicists includes (see above) determinisms whose origin is collective («» 
effect of large numbers). (Note by Pere Teilhard.) 



I a Here, it should be noted, there is a powerful principle of progress deposited in 
being. (Note by Pere TeilharcL) 

11. Cf.Le Milieu Divin, pp. 140-3 : The outer darkness and the tost souls, and p. 148. (Note 

12. That we confine this to atoms and molecules is the result of a false idea of the 
indestructibility and fundamental consistence of the lowest form of concrete Matter. (Note 



X9I3 (5 January) The Progress of Prehistory 9 in The Appearance of Man. 

1916 (24 April) 'Cosmic life 9 in Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, XU) 
1916 (17 May) Brief *Nota to Cosmic Life 9 in Writings in Time of War. 

(Oeuvres, XII) 
1916 (20 September) 'Mastery of the World and the Kingdom of God 9 in 

Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, XII) 

1916 (14 October) 'Christ in Matter. Three stories in the style of Benson 9 in 
Hymn of the Universe and extract in The Heart of Matter. {Oeuvres, XII, 


1917 (26 February-22 March) 'The Struggle against the Multitude. A possible 
interpretation of the form of the world 9 in Writings in Time of War. 

1917 (13 August) The Mystical Milieu in Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, 


1917 (September) 'Nostalgia for the Front 9 in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, 

1917 (November) 'Creative Union 9 in Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, XD) 

1918 (Epiphany: 6 January) The Soul of the World 9 in Writings in Time of 

1918 (15 January) The Great Monad (manuscript found in a trench) 9 in The 

Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XII) 
1918 (19-25 March) The Eternal Feminine 9 in Writings in Time of War. 

(Oeuvres, Xti) 
1918 (14 April) 'My Universe 9 in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XIII) 
1918 (8 July) The Priest 9 in Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, XII) 
1918 (28 September) 'Operative Faith 9 in Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, 


1918 (13, not 22 December) 'Forma Christi 9 in Writings in Time of War. 

* This list has been compiled from the 13 volumes of the Oeuvres (Editions du Seuil) 
and excludes all other published work. In most cases the dates are those inserted by 
Teilhard himself after finishing a paper. A few dates only indicate the time spent on a 
piece of writing. In the absence of any such indications the date of publication of aa 
article in a periodical has been supplied. This, of course, merely affords a terminus ad quern* 
(Claude Cuenot) 



1918 (22 December) 'Note on the "Universal Element" of the World 9 in 
Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, XII) 

1919 (or early 1920?) 'On the Notion of Creative Transformation 9 in 
Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1919 (or January 1920 ?) 'Note on the Physical Union between the Humanity 
of Christ and the faithful in the course of their sanctification 9 in 
Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1919 (Epiphany, actually between 6 and 10 January) 'Note on the presentation 
of the Gospel in a new age 9 in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XII) 

1919 (February) The Promised Land 9 in Writings in Time of War. (Oeuvres, 


1919 (21 February) The Universal Element 9 in Writings in Time of War. 

1919 (Easter: 20 April or very shortly after) Tlie Names of Matter 9 in The 

Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XII) 
1919 (August ?, doubtless before 5 September) 'What exactly is the human 

body? 9 not the author's title; opening words: 'Even a single attempt to 

determine exactly what the body of a living being consists in . . / in 

Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, IX) 

1919 (8 August) The Spiritual Power of Matter 9 in The Heart of Matter and 
also Hymn of the Universe. 9 (Oeuvres, XB., XHf) 

1920 'Note on the Essence of Transformism 9 in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, 

1920 (early) c£: 1919 (or early 1920?) 'On the Notion of Creative Trans- 
formation 9 . 

1920 (January?) (or 1919) 'Note on the Physical Union between the Humanity 
of Christ and the faithful in the course of their sanctification 9 in 
Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1920 (January) 'Note on the Universal Christ 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, 


1920 (January) 'Note on the modes of divine action in the Universe 9 in 
Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1920 (20 July) 'Fall, Redemption and Geocentrism 9 in Christianity and Evolu- 
tion. (Oeuvres, X) 

1920 (10 August) 'A Note on Progress 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1921 (5 January) 'On my attitude to the official Church 9 in The Heart of Matter. 

1921 (27 February) 'Science and Christ (or Analysis and Synthesis). Remarks 
on the way in which the scientific study of matter can and must help to 
lead us up to the Divine Centre 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, IX) 



1921 (20 March) 'Fossil Men; Reflections on a recent book 9 in The Appearance 

of Mm. (Oeuvres, II) 
1921 (5-20 June) *How the Transformist Question presents itself today 9 in The 

Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, m) 

1921 (5-20 December) 'Scientific Report. The Face of the Earth 9 in The Vision 
of the Past. (Oeuvres, m) 

1922 (15 April or very shortly before) *Note on some possible historical 
representations of Original Sin 9 in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1923 The Mass on the World 9 in Hymn of the Universe and The Heart of 

1923 (17 January) 'Pantheism and Christianity 9 in Christianity and Evolution. 

(Oeuvres, X) 
1923 (March-April) "Palaeontology and the Appearance of Man 9 in The 

Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, U) 

1923 (21 March) The Law of Irreversibility in Evolution 9 (not: 'On the 
Law ...)wThe Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, m) 

1924 (25 March) - My Universe 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 

1925 (January) "The Natural History of the World. Reflections on the value and 
future of systematics 9 in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, III) 

1925 (January) The Transformist paradox. On the latest criticism of Trans- 
formism by M. Vialleton 9 in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, III) 

1925 (6 May) ^feminization. Introduction to a scientific study of the Phen- 
omenon of Man 9 in The Vision of the Past (Oeuvres, in) 

1926 (17 March) The necessarily discontinuous appearance of every evolu- 
tionary series 9 (not "On the . . .) in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, ID) 

1926 (Ascension Day: 14 May) The Basis and Foundations of the Idea of 

Evolution 9 in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, IE) 
1926 (November-1927 (March)) (revised in 1932) Le Milieu Divin (The Divine 

Milieu). (Oeuvres, IV) 
1928 (April) The Movements of life 9 in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, HI) 
1928 (14 June) "For Odette and for Jean 9 in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, 


1928 (September) The Phenomenon of Man 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, 

1929 (February-March) The Sense of Man 9 in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, 

1930 (January) 'What should we think of Transfermism? 9 in The Vision of the 
Past. (Oeuvres, JO) 

1930 (April) 'An Important Discovery in Human Palaeontology: Sinanihropus 
Pehnensis 9 in The Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, H) 



1930 (November) 'The Phenomenon of Man 9 in The Vision of the Past. 

1931 (9 March) 'The Spirit of the Earth 9 in HumdnEnergy. (Oeuvres, VI) 

1932 'Man's Place in Nature* in The Vision of the Past.(Oeuvres, TS) 

1932 (8 September) The Road of the West: To a New Mysticism 9 in Toward 
the Future. (Oeuvres, XI) 

1933 (1 April) 'The Significance and Positive Value of Suffering 9 in Human 
Energy. (Oeuvres, VI) 

1933 (May) 'Christianity in the World 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 
1933 ( 2 5 October) 'Modern Unbelief, its underlying cause and remedy 9 in 
Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 

1933 (Christmas: 25 December) 'Christology and Evolution 9 in Christianity 
and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1934 (February) The Evolution of chastity 9 in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres,XS) 
1934 (20 March) The Prehistoric Excavations of Peking 9 in The Appearance 

of Man. (Oeuvres, U) 

1934 (28 October) 'How I believe 9 (the rest of the title: This paper was 
written by Pere Teilhard in answer to a request from Mgr Bruno de 
Solages, characteristic of the latter's deep concern for the apostolate 9 is 
obviously not Teilhard's) in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1935 The Pleistocene Fauna and the Age of Man in North America 9 in The 
Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, II) 

1935 (15 June) 'Address given by the Rev. Fr Teilhard de Chardin on the 
occasion of the marriage of Monsieur and Madame de la Goublaye de 
Mdnorval at the church of Saint-Louis des Invalides on 15 June 1935 9 in 
The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XIII) 

1935 (15 September) The Discovery of the Past 9 in The Vision of the Past. 

1936 (4 May) 'Sketch of a Personalistic Universe 9 in Human Energy. (Oeuvres, 

1936 (9 October) 'Some Reflections on the conversion of the World. For the 
use of a Prince of the Church' in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 

1936 (11 November) The Salvation of Mankind. Thoughts on the present 
crisis 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 

1937 (March) The Phenomenon of Spirituality 9 in Human Energy. (Oeuvres, 

1937 (5 July) The Discovery of Sinanthropus 9 in The Appearance of Man. 

1937 (6 August-8 September) 'Human Energy 9 in Human Energy. (Oeuvres, 




1937 * (20 October) The Principle of the conservation of personality 9 , Appen- 

dix to 'Human Energy' in Human Energy. (Oeuvres, VI) 

1938 'Social Heredity and Education. Notes on the humano-Christian value 
of teaching 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

193 8 (June, to June 1940) The Phenomenon of Man. (Oeuvres, I) 

1939 (3 March) "The Grand Option 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1939 (13 March) The Function of Art as an expression of Human Energy 9 in 

Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, XQ 
1939 (20 March) The Mysticism of Science 9 in Human Energy. (Oeuvres, VI) 
1939 (May) 'Some General Views on the essence of Christianity 9 in Christianity 

and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 
1939 (5 July) The Natural Units of Humanity. An attempt to outline a racial 

biology and morality' in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, ID) 

1939 (Christmas: 25 December) The Moment of Choice. A possible inter- 
pretation of War 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VH) 

1940 (31 October) The Awaited Word 9 in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, XI) 

1941 (22 February) The Future of Man seen by a Palaeontologist 9 , c£ 'Some 
Reflections on Progress 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1941 (30 March) 'On the possible bases of a universal human creed 9 cf. 'Some 
Reflections on Progress, II 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1941 (13 September) The Atomism of Spirit. An attempt to understand the 
structure of the stuff of the Universe 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, 

1942 'A note on the concept of Christian perfection 9 in Toward the Future. 

1942 (20 January) The Rise of the Other 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, 

1942 (13 February) The New Spirit. I. The Cone of Time. II. The "Conic 99 

Transposition of Action 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1942 (20 March) 'Universalization and Union. An attempt at clarification in 

Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VD) 
1942 (8 October) Christ the Evolver or a logical development of the idea of 

Redemption. Reflections on the nature of Christ's "formal action 99 in the 

World 9 in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 
1942 (15 November) 'Man's Place in the Universe. Reflections on Complexity 9 

in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, m) 
1942 (August) 'Super-Humanity, Super-Christ, Super-Charity. Some new 

dimensions for the future 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, EX) 
1942 (15 September) The Question of Fossil Man. Recent discoveries and 

present-day problems 9 in The Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, II) 



1943 (28 December) 'Reflections on Happiness 9 in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, 

1944 (29 June) Introduction to the Christian life. Introduction to Christianity' 
in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1944 (13 December) 'Centrology. An essay in the dialectics of union 9 in 
Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 

1944 (10 March) 'Life and the Planets. What is happening at this moment on 
earth? 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1945 (*3 April) 'Can Moral Science dispense with a metaphysical foundation T 
in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, XL) 

1945 (10 June) The Analysis of Life 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 
1945 (9 August) 'Action and Activation 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 
1945 (11 November) 'Christianity and Evolution (suggestions for a new 
theology) 9 in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1945 ( 2 5 December) 'A Great Event Foreshadowed: The Planetization of 
Mankind 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1946 (August) 'Catholicism and Science', not Teilhard's title, any more than 
that in the periodical Esprit: 'Christianity and Science: P. Teilhard de 
Chardin 9 ; opening words: It is always rash . . / in Science and Christ 
(Oeuvres, IX) 

1946 (September) 'Some Reflections on the Spiritual Repercussions of the 

Atom Bomb 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1946 (15-20 November) 'Degrees of Scientific Certainty in the Idea of 

Evolution 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 
1946 (25 November) 'Outline of a dialectic of Spirit 9 in Activation of Energy. 

(Oeuvres, Vfy 

1946 (15 December) 'Ecumenism 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 

1947 (January) 'Faith in Peace 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1947 (January) 'A plausible biological interpretation of human history. The 

formation of the "Noosphere" 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1947 (i6January) The Place of Technology in a General Biology of Mankind 9 

in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 
1947 (February) 'Faith in Man 9 in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1947 (10 February) The Spiritual Contribution of the Far East. Some 

Personal Reflections 9 in Toward the Future. (Oeuvre*, XI) 
1947 (March) 'Preface 9 to The Phenomenon of Man. (Oeuvres, I) 
1947 (March) (?) 'Summary or Postscript: The Essence of the Phenomenon of 

Man 9 in The Phenomenon of Man. (Oeuvres, I) 
1947 (22 March) 'Some Reflections on the Rights of Man 9 in The Future of 

Man.(Oeuvres 9 V) 



1947 (April) 'Zoological Evolution and Invention in The Vision of the Past. 

1947 (20 August) "The religious value of research', not Teilhard's title, any 

more than: 'Study week at Versailles: the importance of research'; 

opening words: In a recent letter our Fr General . . .' in Science and 

Christ. (Oeuvres, IX) 
1947 (23 September) 'The Human Rebound of Evolution and its consequences' 

in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1947 (* November) 'Letter to Emmanuel Mounier' (not Teilhard's title); 

opening words: 'My dear friend, since it is now clear . . .* in Science and 

Christ. (Oeuvres, IX) 
1947 (15 November) 'Reflections on Original Sin' in Christianity and Evolu- 
tion. (Oeuvres, X) 

1947 (20 December) "Turmoil or Genesis ? Is there in the Universe a main axis 
of Evolution? (An attempt to see clearly)' (title of manuscript) in The 
Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1948 (February) Two Principles and a Corollary (or a Weltanschauung in three 
stages)' in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, XI) 

1948 (April) ' "My intellectual position" (In response to an "enquiry" and 
never published)' in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XIII) 

1948 (23 April) 'On the nature of the phenomenon of human society and its 
hidden relationships with gravity' in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 

1948 (30 June) *The Directions and Conditions of the Future' in The Future of 
Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1948 (3 August) 'Note on the biological structure of mankind' in Science and 
Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 

1948 (12 August) 'My fundamental vision' in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, 

1948 (26 August) 'Appendix (to 'My fundamental vision') I. Note to the 
Phenomenon of Man: on some analogies or hidden relationships 
between gravity and consciousness. H. Note to the Christian Phen- 
omenon: on the "bi-axial" nature of the Incarnation. III. Note to 
Metaphysics on the notion of "paired entities" ' in Toward the Future. 
(Oeuvres, XI) 

1948 (September) 'Qualifications, Career, Field-Work and Writings of Pierre 
Teilhard de Chardin' in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XIII) 

1948 (23 September) 'Note on the teaching of Prehistory' in The Heart of 
Matter. (Oeuvres,Xm) 

1948 (7 October) The basis of my attitude' (opening words) in The Heart of 
Matter. (Oeuvres, XIII) 



1948 (17 October) 'My "Phenomenon of Man**: An Essential Observation* in 

The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XHI) 
1948 (28 October) 'Some remarks on the Place and Part of Evil in a World in 

Evolution' : Appendix to The Phenomenon of Man. (Oeuvres, I) 

1948 (21 December) 'Address for the wedding of Christine Dresch and Claude- 
Marie Haardt* in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, Xm) 

1949 (6 January) The Psychological Conditions of the Unification of Man 9 in 
Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 

1949 (26 January) 'A Phenomenon of Counter-Evolution in Human Biology 
or the existential fear* in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 

1949 (2 February) The Essence of the Democratic Idea. A biological approach 
to the problem. In response to a questionnaire from UNESCO' in The 
Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1949 (4 May) 'Galileo's question restated: Does Mankind move biologically 
upon itself?' in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1949 (3 1 May) The Sense of the Species in Man' in Activation of Energy. 
(Oeuvres, VII) 

1949 (4 August) The Human Zoological Group. Evolutionary Structure and 
Directions. The title Le Groupe Zoologique Humain. Structure et Directions 
Evolutiyes was used for the paperback edition (Albin Michel). The title 
of the subsequent edition (<Sd. du Seuil) La Place de V Homme dans la 
Nature. Le Groupe zoologique humain is not Teilhard's; Mans Place in 
Nature. (Oeuvres, VHL) 

1949 (8 September) The Heart of the Problem' in The future of Man. 
(Oeuvres, V) 

1949 (17-22 October) The Vision of the Past. What it brings to and takes 
away from Science' in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, HI) 

1950 (6 January) 'On the probable coming of an "Ultra-Human". (Reflections 
of a biologist)' in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 

1950 (8 January) The Spiritual Energy of Suffering' in Activation of Energy. 

(Oeuvres, VH) 
1950 (18 January) 'How may we conceive and hope that human unanimiza- 

tion will be realized on earth?' in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1950 (2 March) 'What is Life ?' in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 
1950 (27 April) 'From the Pre-Human to the Ultra-Human or 'The phases of 

a living planet" '; not Teilhard's title, the duplicated text is headed: 

'Reflections on the Ultra-Human or 'The phases of a living planet" '; 

in The Future of Man. (Oeuvres, V) 
1950 (10 May) The Christian Phenomenon' in Christianity and Evolution. 

(Oeuvres, X) 



1950 (June-July) 'Evolution of the idea of evolution 9 in The Vision of the Past 

(Oeuvres t Uf) 
1950 (June) The Australopithecines and the "Missing Link" in Evolution 9 in 

The Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, D) 
1950 (5 June) The Evolution of Responsibility in the World 9 in Activation of 

Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 
1950 (July) The Scientific Career of Fr Teilhard de Chardin 9 in The Heart of 

Matter. (Oeuvres, Xm) 
1950 (25 July) 'A Clarification: Reflections on two converse forms of Spirit 9 

in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 
1950 (15 August-30 October) The Heart of Matter 9 in The Heart of Matter. 

(Oeuvres, Xm) 
1950 (shortly after 22 August) 'Monogenism and Monophyletism: An 

Essential Distinction 9 in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1950 (November) The Zest for Living 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, WIS) 

1951 (February) The Phyletic Structure of the Human Group 9 in The 
Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, E) 

1951 (15 March) 'A Mental Threshold across our Path: From Cosmos to 
Cosmogenesis' in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VH) 

1951 (Easter: 25 March) 'Reflections on the Scientific Probability and the 
Religious Consequences of an Ultra-Human 9 in Activation of Energy. 
(Oeuvres, WIS) 

1951 (5 May) 'Note on the present reality and evolutionary significance of a 
human orthogenesis 9 in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, US) 

1951 (probably May, certainly before 24 May) 'Can Biology, taken to its 
extreme limit, enable us to emerge into the Transcendent ?' ; notTeilhard's 
title, any more than 'Notes for the "Semaine des intellectuels catholiques 
franfais" 9 (preparatory meeting of 8 May?) 'Biology and Transcen- 
dence 9 ; opening words: 'If biology is taken to its extreme limit . . / in 
Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, DC) 

1951 (23 July) The Convergence of the Universe 9 in Activation of Energy. 

1951 (winter) 'Some Notes on the mystical sense: an attempt at clarification 9 
in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, XI) 

1951 (about November) 'Notes on South African Prehistory 9 ; not Teilhard 9 ! 
title; opening words: 'Followed from afar, by way of the periodicals . . .' 
in The Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, IS) 

1951 (19 November) The Transformation and Continuation in Man of the 
Mechanism of Evolution 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, WIS) 

1951 (30 December^ 'A major problem for Anthropology. Is there or is there 



not, in man, a continuation and transformation of the biological process 

of evolution?* in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VD) 
1952 (21 January) 'Australopithecines, Rthecanthropians and the Phyletic 

Structure of the Hominians 9 in The Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, U) 
1952 (March) 'Observations on the Australopithednes' in The Appearance of 

Man. (Oeuvres t ty 
1952 (27 April) The Reflection of Energy 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, 


1952 (14 September) 'What die world is looking for 60m the Church of God 
at this moment: A generalizing and a deepening of the meaning of the 
Cross 9 in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1952 (November-December) 'Hominization and Speciation 9 in The Vision of 
the Past. (Oeuvres, m) 

1952 (9 December) ^e End of the Spede$ , niTfeF«fMreq/*M<w.(OeN^«,V^ 

1953 (18 January) 'Reflections on die Compression of Mankind* hi Activation of 
Energy. (Oeuvres, VH) 

1953 (April) 'On looking at a Cyclotron. Reflections on the folding-back upon 
itself of human energy 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VU) 

1953 (1 May) 'The Contingence of the Universe and man's zest for survival or, 
How can one rethink the Christian notion of Creation to conform with 
the laws of Energetics? 9 in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1953 (H May) The Energy of Evolution 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, 

1953 (5 June) 'A Sequel to the Problem of Human Origins: The Plurality of 
Inhabited Worlds 9 in Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1953 (Hjuly) The StufFof the Universe 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VD) 

1953 (October?) 'My Litany 9 , not Teilhard's tide; opening words: The God 
of Evolution, the Christie, the Trans-Christ 9 ; in Christianity an&Evoh- 
Hon. (Oeuvres, X) 

1953 (Feast of Christ die King: 25 October) The God of Evolution 9 in 
Christianity and Evolution. (Oeuvres, X) 

1953 (23 November) 'On the probability of an early bifurcation of the Human 
Phylum in the immediate neighbourhood of its origins 9 in The Appear- 
ance of Man. (Oeuvres, H) 

1953 (6 December) The Activation of Human Energy 9 in Activation of Energy. 
(Oeuvres, VII) 

1954 (h January) 'A summary of my "Phenomenological w View of the 
World 9 in Toward the Future. (Oeuvres, XI) 

:q$& (25 March) The Singularities of the Human Species 9 followed by an 
'Appendix : Complementary Remarks on the Nature of Omega Point or, 



the Unique Nature of the Christian Phenomenon 9 in The Appearance of 

Man. (Oeuvres, II) 
1954 (June) The Search for the discovery of human origins in Africa south of 

die Sahara 9 in The Appearance of Man. (Oeuvres, II) 
1954 (before June) The Phenomenon of Man (How can one go beyond a 

philosophico-juridico-literary "Anthropology" and establish a true 

Science of Man: an Anthropogenesis and an Anthropodynamics?)' in 

The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XHQ 

1954 (September) 'Africa and Human Origins* in The Appearance of Man. 

1955 (January) 'A defence of Orthogenesis in the matter of patterns of 
speciation 9 in The Vision of the Past. (Oeuvres, ID) 

1955 (1 January) The Death-Barrier and Co-Reflection or, the imminent 
awakening of human consciousness to the sense of its irreversibility 9 (die 
Appendix: 'Science and Revelation 9 is dated 5 January 1955) in Activa- 
tion of Energy. (Oeuvres, VH) 

1955 (5 January) 'Science and Revelation: Appendix 9 to The Death-Barrier 
and Co-Reflection 9 in Activation of Energy. (Oeuvres, VII) 

1955 (March) The Christie 9 in The Heart of Matter. (Oeuvres, XIH) 

1955 (March) 'Research, Work and Worship 9 in Science and Christ. (Oeuvres, 

1955 (7 April) *What I believe (Last page of the Diary) 9 in The Heart of Matter. 
(Oeuvres, XIII) (incomplete version printed in The Future of Man. 
(Oeuvres, V)) 




1.* Sur une formation ie Carbono-Phosphate ie Cfuwx fige paUotithique. (GIL 
Acad. Sc., vol. 157, pp. 1077-9) 


2. Les Carnassiers ies Phosphorites du Quercy. (Annates de Paleontologie, yoL 
DC, pp. 103-91, 13 fig., 9 pi., 8 tables) 


3. Sur quclques Primates ies Phosphorites in Quercy. (Annates de Paleontologie, 
yoL X, pp. 1-20, 6 fig., 2 pi) 


4. Les Mammifires ie F£odne infeneur franyns et leurs gisements. (Doctoral 
thesis) (Annates de Paleontologie, voL X, pp. 171-6-voL XI, pp. 1-108, 
8 pi., 42 fig.) 


5. Sur la structure ie rile ie Jersey. (Bull. Soc Geol. de France, 4th series* 
yoL 19, pp. 273-8, a fig., 1 map) 


6. Sur la succession ies Faunes ie Mammifires ions Ttodne inftrieur europten. 
(C JL Acad. Sc., Paris, vol 171, pp. 1161-2.) 


7. (zndFrtipont)- Note sur la pr&ence dans le TertiaireinfeneurieBelgiqueiTun 
Coniylarthri appartenant au groupe ies Hyopsoius. (Bull. Acad. Royale de 
Belgique, vol. VII, pp. 357-<5o.) 


8. Sur une Faune ie Mammifires Pontiens provenant ie la Chine septentrionak. 
(GR. Acad. Sc, Paris, vol. 175, pp. 979-8i») 

* In this Bibliography the numbers in italic (*) have been used to designate the longer 
papers or notes, the numbers in roman (1) less important writings. 'PaL Sin' has been used 
as an abbreviation for 'Palaeontologica Sinica* (Pakcontological Memoirs of the Geological 
Survey of China). 



9. (Jodot P., Joleaud L., Lemoine P.) - Observations sur le calcaire pisolithique de 
Vertus et du Mont Aimi (Marne). (Bull Soc Geol. de France, Paris, 4th 
series, vol. 22, pp. 164-76, 6 fig.) 


10. Cenozoic Vertebrate Fossils ofE. Kansu and Inner Mongolia. (Bull. Geol. Soc* 
China, vol. II, pp. 1-3.) 


11. Note sur la structure des montagnes de VOuest du Linn-Ming-Kwan (Chihli 
Meridional). (Bull. Geol. Soc. China, vol. HI, pp. 393-7.) 

12. Geology of Northern Chihli and Eastern Mongolia. (Bull. Geol. Soc China, 
vol. m, pp. 399-407, fig. maps.) 

13. (and Licent) -On the Geology of the Northern^ Western and Southern Borders 
of the Ordos 9 China. (Bull. Geol. Soc China, vol. HI, pp. 37-44, 5 fig.) 

14. (and Licent) - On the discovery of a Palaeolithic Industry in Northern China. 
(Bull. Geol. Soc. China, vol. in, pp. 45-50, fig.) 

15. (and Licent) - Observations giohgiques sur la bordure occidentale et miridionale 
de YOrdos. (Bull. Soc Geol. de France, Paris, 4th series, vol. XXIV, pp. 49- 
91, 15 fig.) 

16. (and Licent) - Observations complimentaires sur la Giologie de VOrdos. (BulL 
Soc Geol. de France, Paris, 4th series, vol. XXIV, pp. 462-4, 2 pi.) 

17. (and Dollo L.) - Les gisements de Mammifires paUocenes de la Belgique. 
(Quarterly Journal of the Geol. Soc, vol. 80, pp. 12-16.) 


18. Leparadoxetransformiste-Aproposdeladernibrecritiquedu Transformisme par 
M. Vialleton. (Revue des Quest. Scdent, Louvain, 32 pp.) 

19. Observations nouvelles sur les Mdmmiferes du Tertiaire infhieur de Belgique. 
(Bull. Acad. Royale de Belgique, series V, vol. XI, pp. 48-50.) 

20. (and Licent) - Note sur deux instruments agricoles du Nfolithique de Chine. 
(L'Anthropologie, vol. XXXV, pp. 62^74, 3 fig.) 

21. (and Licent) -LePaUolithique de k Chine. (L'Anthropologie, vol. XXXV. 
pp. 201-34, 16 fig.) 

22. Le Massif volcanique du TaldHwr (Gobi oriental). (Bull, volcanologique, 
Napoli, No. 3-4, pp. 100-8, 1 fig.) 

23. (and Fritel) - Note sur quelques gres misozoiques a Plantes de la Chine 
septentrionale. (Bull. Soc Geol. de France, Paris, 4th series, vol. 25, pp. 
523-40, 7 fig., 2 pi.) 




24. ttude giologique sur k region du Datai-Noor. (M&ioires de la Soc G66L de 
France, Paris. New series, vol. HI, No. 7, pp. 153, 21 fig., 2 pi.) 

25. Le Massif volcanique du Dalai-Noor (Gobi oriental). (Congres des Soc Say. 
et des Departements, Paris, pp. 460-3.) 

26. Description de Mdmmiftres tertiaires de Chine et de Mongolie. (Annates de 
Paleontologie, toL XV, pp. 3-51, 25 fig., 5 pL) 

27. SurqftelqmMammifbesnouveauxfaTertiakea^ 

Belgique, CL Sciences, 5th series, vol. XII, pp. 210-15, 2 fig.) 

28. Palaeontological Notes. (Bull GeoL Soc. China, vol. 5, No. 1, pp. 57-9*) 

29. Le Niolithique de k Chine tapis Us dicouvertes du DrAndersson. ([/Anthro- 
pologic, Paris, vol XXXVI, pp. 117-24.) 

30. Sur Vapparence n&essakemeni discontinue de toute sine evolutive. (L'Anthro- 
pologie, Paris, vol. XXXVI, pp. 320-1.) 


31. Les Mamndftres de V&xfae infeneur de la Belgique. (M&n. Mus. R. Hist. 
Nat Belg. No. 36, pp. 1-33, 29 fig., 6 pi.) 

32. (and Licent) - On the basal beds of the sedimentary series in Southwestern 
Shansi. (Bull GeoL Soc. China, vol. VI, No. 1, pp. 61-4, fig.) 

33. (and Licent) -On the recent marine Beds and the Underlying Freshwater 
Deposits, in Tientsin. (Bull. GeoL Soc China, vol. VI, No. 2, pp. 127-8.) 

34. (and Licent) - Observations sur Us formations auaternaires et tertiaires 
suphieures du Honan septentrional et du Chansi meridional. (Bull. GeoL Soc 
China, voL VI, No. 2, pp. 129^48, fig.) 

35. (Licent and Black D.) - On a presumably Pleistocene Human Tooth from the 
Sjaraosso-gol (South-eastern Ordos) deposits. (Bull. GeoL Soc China, voL 
V, pp. 285-90, fig., 1 pL) 

36. (Barbour and Licent) - Geological study of the deposits of the Sangkanho 
Basin. (BulL GeoL Soc China, voL V, pp. 263^78, fig.) 

yj.Quelques donniesnouveUes sur kmise en place dekFaune moderne (Mammi- 
ftres) en Chine septentrionaU. (GR. dela Sociftgbiologique, Paris, pp. 1-3.) 

38. Les couches de passage entreUTertiatreetUQuaternaire en Chine septentrionaU. 
(CJL Soc GeoL de France, No. 1-2, pp. 12-14.) 

39. Observations sur k Unteur devolution des Fames de Mammiftres amtinentales. 
(Palaeobiologica, Vienna, voL I, pp. 5$-6o 9 1 fig*) 

40. La Nature et k succession des Eruptions post-patiozoiques en Chine 
septentrionaU. (C JL Acad. Sc, Paris, voL 186, pp. 960-1.) 



41. Note complimentaire sur la Faune de Mammifhes du Tertiaire inffrieur 
d'Orsmael. (Bull Acad. Royale Belg., Cl. Sc, series 5, vol. XIV, pp. 471-4. 


42. Les Roches iruptives post-Paliozotques du Nord de la Chine. (Bull of die 
Geological Soc. of China, vol. VII, pp. 1-12.) 

43. (Boule, Breuil, Licent) - Le PaUolithique de la Chine. (Arch, de l'lhst. de 
Pal. Hum., Paris, No. 4, 138 pp., 53 fig., 30 pi.) 


44. (and Young) - On some traces of Vertebrate Life in the Jurassic and Triassk 
Beds ofShansi and Shensi. (Bull. Geol. Soc China, vol. VIH, pp. 173-202, 

45. (and Young) - Preliminary report on the Chou-Kou-Tienfossiliferous Deposit 
(Bull. Geol. Soc China, vol. Vm, pp. 173-202, 10 fig.) 

46. Le PaUolithique en Somaliejranfaise et en Abyssinie. (L* Anthropologic, vol 
40, pp. 331-4.) 


47. Quefaut-il penser du Transformisme? (Revue des Quest. Scient, Louvain, 
4th series, vol XVII, part I, pp. 89-99.) 

48. Le Sinanthropus de Peking. -£tat actuel de nos connaissances sur le Fossile etson 
gisement. ([/Anthropologic, vol. XLI, No. 1-2, pp. 1-11.) 

49. Lephhomine humain. (Revue des Quest. Scient., pp. 1-19.) 

50. Preliminary observations on the pre-Loessic and post-Pontian formations in 
Western Shansi and Northern Shensi. (Mem. Geol. Surv. of China, series A, 
No. 8, pp. 1-54, 13 fig., 9 pi.) 

51. On the occurrence of a Mongolian Perissodactyle in the Red Sandstone of 
Sichuan, S.W. Honan. (Bull. Geol. Soc China, vol. DC, pp. 331-3, 1 fig.) 

$2. Quelques observations sur les Terresjaunes (Loess) de Chine et de Mongolie. 

(Soc G^ France (jubilee volume) II, pp. 605-12, 12 fig.) 
55. (and Piveteau J.) -Les Mammifiresfossiles de Nihowan (Chine). (Annales de 

Pal&ntologie, vol. XDC, pp. 1-132, 42 fig., 23 pi.) 

54. (and Licent) - Geological observations in Northern Manchuria and Barga 
(Hailar). (Bull. Geol. Soc China, vol. DC, pp. 23-35, 4fig.) 

55. (and Young) - Some correlation between the geology of China proper and the 
geology of Mongolia. (Bull. Geol. Soc China, vol. DC, No. 2, pp. 119-25.) 

56. (and Lamare, Dreyfus, Lacroix, Basse) - Etudes giohgiques en £ihiopie 9 
Somalie et Arable mMdionak. (M&n. Soc G&l. de France, N.S. vol. IV, 
No. 14, pp. 1-165, 29 fig., 5 pi.) 




57. On an enigmatic Pteropod-like fossil fiom the lower Cambrian of Southern 
Shansi, Biconulites Grabaui, nov. gen., nov. sp. (Bull GeoL Soc China, 
Vol. X, pp. 179-84, 2 fig., 2 pL) 

58. Some observations on the archaeological material collected by Mr A. S. 
Lukaskkin near Tsitsikar. (Bull GeoL Soc. China, vol XI, pp. 183-93, 8 

fig.. 3 pi.) 
50. (and Young) - Fossil Mammals fiom the late Cenozoic of Northern China. 
(Palaeontologia Sinka, series C, vol IX, part I, pp. 1-188, 23 fig., 10 pL» 
1 map.) 


60. New observations on the Khangai series of Mongolia and some other allied 
formations. (Bull. Geol. Soc. China, vol. XI, pp. 395-409.) 

61. The Geology of the WeichangArea. (Geol. Bull. GeoL Surv. China, No. 19, 

pp. 1-49, fig., 1 pL) 

62. Observations sur Us changements de niveau marin dans la RJjgion fObodu 
(C.R.S. Soc G&>1. de France, No. 13, pp. 180-1.) 

$3. Les risultats scientifiques de Vexpidition (Citroen Centre-Ask). (Terre, Air, 
Mer, Paris, pp. 379-90, 8 fig.) 

64. (andKveteau)-Nof<w/felfti<fe^ 

Campine. (Mededeel. Kon. Natuurhist. Mus. Belgii, vol. 8, No. 5, 12 pp., 


65. (andPdW.C.)-7feMfcm<faty 

Tien. (BulL Geol. Soc China, voL XI, pp. 315-58, 36 fig., 5 pL) 

66. (and Young) - On some Neolithic (and possibly Palaeolithic) Finds in Mongolia 
- Sinkiang and West China. (BulL GeoL Soc. China, vol. XII, No. 1, pp. 
83-104, 21 fig.) 


67. The base of the Palaeozoic in Shansi: Metamorphism and Cycles. (BulL GeoL 
Soc China, voL Xm, pp. 149-53* 2 fig.) 

68. Les Cycles sidimentaires (pliodnes etplus ricents) dans la Chine du Nord. (BulL 
Ass. GeoL Fr. Paris, No. 65, pp. 3-7, 1 fig.) 

69. Observations giotogiques & trovers les d&erts4 9 Asie centnde de Kalgan & Hand 
(Mission Citroen Centre-Asie t 1931-2). (Rev. Geogr. Phys., voL V, pp. 365- 
97, 15 fig., 14 pL, 2 maps) 

70. Les graviers plhsis de Chine. (BulL Soc GeoL de France, series V, voL II, 
pp. 5*7^-31, 4 pL) 



71. Les Bovin&fossiles en Chine fa Nord. (GR. Soc. BioL, Paris, No. 79, pp. 

72. (and Young) - The late Cenozoic Formation ofSJS. Shansi. (Bull GeoL Soc. 
China, vol. XH, pp. 207-41*) 

73. (andDavidsonBlack, Young, Pei) -Fossil Man in China.- The Chou-Kou- 
Tien cave deposits with a synopsis of our present knowledge of the late Cenozoic 
in China. (Geological Memoirs, Peiping, Series A, No. n, 158 pp, 81 fig* 
3 tables, 6 maps.) 

74. (and de Lapparent A.) - Sur la iicouverte Sun Rongeur du genre Paramys 
dans T&x&ne infirieur de Provence. (C.R.S. Soc. G60I. de France, pp. 26-7.) 


75. (and Pei W.C.) - New discoveries in Choukoutien W3-4- (Bull GeoL Soc. 
China, vol. XIII, pp. 309-89, 9 fig., 1 map, 3 pi.) 

76. (and Stirton R.A.) - A correlation of some Miocene and Pliocene Mammalian 
Assemblages in North America and Asia with a discussion of the Mio-Pliocene 
Boundary. (Publ. Univ. Cali£ BulL Dept. Geol. Sc., Berkeley, voL 23, pp. 
377-90, 3 pl.) 


77. La Faune pUistodne et Yancienneti de Yhomme en Amirique fa Nord. 
(L* Anthropologic, vol. 45, pp. 483-7.) 

78. Chronologie des alluvions pUistodnes dejava. (L'Anthropologie, vol. 45, pp. 


79. Le Cinozoique en Chine centrale et miridionale. (C.R.S. Soc Geol. de France, 
No. 11 and 12, pp. 150-2.) 

So. (and Barbour G.B., Bien M.N.) - A geological reconnaissance across the 
eastern Tsinling (between Leyang and Hsichuan 9 Honan). (BulL GeoL Surv. 
China, No. 25, pp. 9-38, 16 fig., 2 pL, 1 map.) 

81. (and Young C.C.) - The Cenozoic Sequence in the Yangtze Valley. (Bull. 
GeoL Soc. China, voL XIV, pp. 161-78, 12 fig.) 

82. (tmdYo\mg t ^cuCh3^lLC)~(^theCenozokFormatiomofKwmgsia^ 
Kwangtung. (Bull. Geol. Soc. China, vol. XIV, pp. 179-205, 14 fig., 2 pL) 

83. Geological Observations in the Turfan Area. (Geografiska Annaler [Stock- 
holm], pp. 446-52.) 


84. The significance of Piedmont gravels in continental Geology. (Intern. GeoL 
Congress. Rep. XVI, Session U.S.A., Washington, vol. 2, pp. 1031-9, z 




85. Fossil Mammals from Locality 9 ofChoukoutien. (Palacontologia Sinica, ser. 
C, vol. VH, part 4, 70 pp., 30 fig., 4 pi.) 

86. (and Young C.C.) -On the Mammalian remains from the archaeological site 
of Anyang. (Palaeontologia Sinica, ser. C, vol. XII, part 1, 78 pp., 26 fig., 
8 pi.) 

87. (and Young C.C.) -A Mongolian Amblypoi in the Red beds oflchang (Hupeh). 
(Bull. Geol. Soc. China, vol XV, pp. 217-23, 3 fig.) 

88. (and Licent) - New remains </Postschizotherium from S£. Shansi. (BulL 
Geol. Soc. China, vol. XV, pp. 421-7, 2 fig.) 

89. (and Terra H. de) - Observations on the upper Siwalik formation and later 
Pleistocene Deposits in India. (Proa Amer. Phil Soc. Philadelphia, vol 76, 
pp. 791-822, 14 fig.) 

go. Notes on Continental Geology. (BulL GeoL Soc. China, vol. XVI, pp. 195- 
220, 9 maps.) 


91. Ep-archaean andEpi-sinian Intervals in China. (Bull. Geol. Soc. China, vol 
XVn, pp. 169-75.) 

92. ThePost-Villqfranchian Interval in North CAiim.(Bu1L Geol. Soc. China, vol 
XVII, pp. 169-75.) 

93. Notes sur la Paliontobgie Humaine en Asie Orientate. (L' Anthropologic, voL 
47. pp. 22-33, 6 fig.) 

94. The Pleistocene of China: stratigraphy and correlations. (Early Man, Phila- 
delphia, pp. 211-20, 3 fig.) 

95. The structural Geology of Eastern Shantung between Tsingtao and Yungch 9 eng). 
(GeoL BulL, Nanking, No. 29, pp. 85-105, 2 pi.) 

96. (and Trassaert M.) - The Proboscidians of Southern Shansi. (PaL Sin., Ser. C, 
vol. Xm, part 11, 58 pp., 6 fig., 13 pi.) 

97. (and Trassaert M.) - Pliocene Camelidae 9 Girajjidae and Cervidae of SJs. 
Shansi. (Pal. Sin., New Series C, No. I.) 


98. Deuxiimes Notes sur la PaUontobgie Humaine en Asie MMdionale. (L'Anthro- 
pologie, vol. 48, pp. 449-56.) 

99. The Fossils from Locality 12 ofChoukoutien. (Pal. Sin., New Series C, No. 5.) 
too. (and Trassaert M.) - Cavicornia ofS£. Shansi. (PaL Sin., New Series C, 

No. 6.) 
101. A Map of the younger eruptive rocks in China. (Bull. Geol. Surv. China, 



ioia. Le Vtttqfranchkn fAsie et la question du Villafranchien. (OR.S. Soc GcoL 
ft., pp. 325-7.) 


102. Two skulls of Mackwodw from Choukoutien. (Bull. GcoL Soc China, vol 
XDC, pp. 235-56.) 

103. New observations on the genus Postschizotherium. (BulL GcoL Soc China, 
vol XDC, p. 257-68.) 

104. The Miocene Cervidsfrom Shantung. (Bull. Geol. Soc China, vol. XDC, pp. 

105. (and Brcuil, Wcrncrt) - Les industries lithiques de Sorndie franydse. 
(L'Anthropologie, vol. 49, pp. 497-522, 13 fig.) 

106 The Fossils from Locality lS, near Peking. (Pal. Sin., New Scries C, No. 11.) 
107. The Granitisation of China. (Publications de llnstitut de Geobiologie de 

PeTdn, No. 1, 33 pp., 10 fig., 1 map.) 

10$. Early Man in China. (Publ. Inst. Geobiol. P&in, No. 7, 112 pp., 51 fig., 5 

log. The Fossils of Locality 13 in Chou-Kou-Tien. (Pal. Sin., New Series C, No. 


no. (and Leroy P.) - Chinese fossil Mammals. (Publ. Inst. Geobiol. PeTrin, No. 8, 

142 pp., 1 map.) 
ill. New Rodents of the Pliocene and Lower Pleistocene of North China. (Publ. 

Inst. Geobiol. Pe*kin, No. 9, 100 pp., 61 fig.) 


112. The Genesis of the Western Hills of Peking. (Geobiologia, vol. I, pp. 17-49, 
12 fig., j map.) 

113. Contorted figures in the Sinian limestone. (Geobiologia, vol. I, pp. 53-5, 1 
fig., 1 pi.) 


114. Le Niolithique de la Chine. (Publ. Inst. Geobiol. P&in, No. 10, 112 pp., 48 
fig., 2 maps.) 




115. Un probUme de Gtologie asiatique: lefaciis Mongol (Gcobiologia, vol. 2, 
pp. 1-12,5 fig.) 

116. The Geology of the Western Hills, - additional Notes. (Geobiologia, vol. 2, 
pp. 13-18, 1 %.) 

117. The geological structure of the Shihmenchai Basin near Shanhaikwan. (Geo- 
biologia, vol. 2, pp. 19-26, 3 fig.) 

118. (and Leroy P.) -lef F&idis de Chine. (Publ. Inst. Gfobiol. P&in, No. II, 
70 pp., 20 fig., 2 maps.) 

119. (and Leroy P.) -Les Mustilidis de Chine. (Publ. Inst. Gfobiol. P&in, No. 
12, 56 pp., 24 fig., 2 maps.) 


120. La Plantation Humaine. (Cahiers du Monde Nouveau, August 1946.) 

121. Remarques sur les Flexures continental de Chine. (Bull. Soc. G6o\. Fr. t 
series 5, vol. XVI, pp. 497-502.) 


122. La Question de V Homme Fossile. (Editions Psyche, Paris, 33 pp., 12 fig.) 

123. Une interpretation biologique plausible de VHistoire humaine: la formation 
de la Noosphere. (Revue des Quest. Scient., January 1947, pp. 1-35.) 

124. La structure de VAsie Centrale, d'apres le Dr Norin. (Revue Scientifique, 


125. Le rebondissement humain de revolution, et ses consequences. (Revue des 
Quest. Scient., April 1948, pp. 166-85.)* 

* September 1948. 

The list drawn up by Teilhard includes only a portion of his scientific writings. These 
have been gathered by Dr Karl Schmitz-Moormann into a Corpus of 11 volumes, Pierre 
Teilhard de Chardin: VOeuure Scientifique (Walter-Verlag, Olten und Freiburg im 
Breisgau, W. Germany, 1971). Previously, M. Claude Cuenot had compiled a bibliog- 
raphy of Teilhard's works (in French), which was published in the Spanish Edition of his 
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin. Les Grandes Stapes de son Evolution (Madrid, Taurus Ediciones) 



Above, the; God of, 45, 53, 54-5, 

99; religions of, 97, 98; synthesis 

with the Ahead, 44 
Absolute, the, 18, 77; T.'s passion 

for, 197-8, 206 
Acaddmie des Sciences, 152, 157 
action, human, 82, 83, 96, 199, 203, 

activity, 223, 233 
Africa, 150, 164 
Ahead, the, 210; God of, 45, 53, 

54-5» 99; religions of, 97-8; 

synthesis with the Above, 44 
Aisne River, 119, 168, 170 
altar, 119 
America, United States of, n, 145, 


amethyst, 19 

amorization, 41, 44, 52, 99; break- 
through into, 60; pan-, 88; total, 
50; of the Universe, 81-3 

Andrews, Roy Chapman, 153, 158 

animals, 22, 23 

antelopes, 161, 183 

anthropodynamics, 155 

anthropogenesis, 36, 87; science o£ 
146, iss. 164 

anthroposphere, 182 

apologetics, T.'s, 144 

arrangement, 33, 51, 82, 84, 86, 


ascesis, 46, 15)7, 208 
ascetics, 220 

Asia, 119, 135. 150, I53» i5SHfo, i6i f 

163 ; influence on T., 47 
astrophysics, 156 
atom, 78, 84, 239 
attachment, 96 
automatisms, 233, 234, 238 
Auvergne, 135, 136, 139, 152 
axis, T.'s metaphor of, 41, 214, 


Babis, 88 

Bacot, Odette, 135, 136 


Bandoeng, 163 

Barbour, Ian, 10 

Barthelemy-Maduale, M., 194 

barysphere, 32 

Basse, Eliane (Mme de la Goublaye 

de Menorval), 140, 141 
Beatitudes, 89 
Beaulieurles-Fontaines, 167 
beauty, 204, 215 
Beethoven, L. van, 36 
being, 122, 205 
Belleville, 177 

Benson, Robert Hugh, 61, 182 
Bergson, Henri, 7, 25, 26, 213 
Berulle, Pierre de, 79, 195 
biogenesis, 86, 94, 104 
biology, 78, 84, 112, 146, 156 
biosphere, 22, 29, 30, 161 
birth, law of, 54, 55 
Blondel, Maurice, 223-4 



body, 26, 30 

Bolshevism, 223 

Boule, Marcellin, 153, 158 

bread, 119; in Mass on the World, 

128, 129; symbolism, 94, 119-20, 

Bremond, Henri, 152 
Breuil, Abb£ Henri, 119, 14611, 157, 

Bridgman, P., 155 
Burma, 154, 158, 160, 163 

Cairo, 23, 152, 158 

Cambridge University, 145 

carnivores, 160 

cat, 109 

Catholic 'phylum 9 , 39-40 

cell, 78, 84 

Cenozoic period, 160 

censors, 78 

Central Asiatic Expedition, 153, 158 

Centric, the, 7, 49-50 

cerebration, 37 

chalcedony, 19 

chalice, 120; in Mass on the 

World, 129 
chance, 51, 137 
charity, 88, 133, 212, 238; and body 

of Christ, 219; new, 53, 101, 187- 

8; super-, 55 
chastity, 60, 219, 221, 238; T.'s vow 

of, 79 
Chemin des Dames, 78, 168, 170, 

chemistry, 156 
Child Jesus, 17, 55, 78 
China, 30, 150, 133-4* 160, 161, 

Chiromyoids, 160 

Choukoutien, 161, 163 

Christ; centre of universe, 104, 205; 
in the Church, 116-18; co- 
extensive with world, 201-2, 204, 
205; coincidence with convergent 
universe, 90-2; coincidence with 
Omega, 50, 51, 56, 92, 95, 144, 
cosmic, 54, 93-4; the evolver, 58; 
final return, 10; fulfilment of, 
217; heart of, 42-3. 44, 47, 49, <fc, 
131, 132, 133 ; historical entry into 
evolution, 89; love of, 221 ; 
'loved as a world 9 , 224; in matter, 
61-5, 75; omnipresence of trans- 
formation, 94; Pantocrator, 94; 
resurrection, 56, 89, 99, 131; and 
segregation, 235 ; 'sought and 
attained like a world 9 , 221 ; super-, 
55; term of universal development, 
215-16, 218; and theory of 
creative union, 205-6; total, 93; 
uniting of centre and sphere in, 
195; universal, 43, 48, 66 f 93-4. 
95, 100, 131-4, 144 

Christian, the; interior and apostolic 
life, 221, 224; vocation, 217-18 

Christian Phenomenon, 87-8, 104, 

Christianity; 'classical 9 , 98; conflict 
with neo-humanism, 147-8; and 
'creative union 9 , 207; and human 
effort, 217; and modern man, 212, 
220, 222; new, 92, 99, 104; 
primacy, 88-90; 'proofs of 9 , 223; 
and science, 115; ultra-, 96; and 
worship, 54 

Christie, the, 7, 15, 23, 43, 80, 100, 
101; and the Centric, 49; emerg- 
ence of, 82-3; power of, 98-9 



Christie sense, 17, 40; co-existence 
with Cosmic sense, 17, 40, 45 

Christogenesis, 90, 94, 104 

Gbristosphere, 80 

Church, 55, 89, 131, 148, 209, 210; 
evolution, 117-18; failure to 
adapt, 115; and human effort, 
217; and man's work, 203 ; and 
mankind's aspirations, 222; search 
for God, 218; and theory of 
creative union, 207-8; and threat 
of schism, 212-14 

civilization, universal, 186 

coalescence, 188, 194 

coherence, 144 

College de France, 78, 145-6, 147, 

Columbia University, 145 
communion, 52; with God and 

evolution, 144; universal, 94, 127- 

30, 206, 216 
completion, sense o£ 17 
complexity, 28, 29, 38, 82, 149 
complexity-consciousness, 39-40, 86; 

law o£ 48,143,144 
concordism, 144 
consciousness, 9, 33, 45 
consecration, universal, 123, 124, 

consistence, sense of, 17, 20; T.'s 

need for, 18, 19, 20, 23, 28, 30, 

42; of the universe, 39, 138 
consummation, sense of, 17 
contemplation, 221, 224 
convergence, 7, 19, 30, 3^ 38, 48, 

49, 77, 82-3 ; universal centre of, 

co-reflection, 82, 86, 87, 91, 102 
cosmic, the, 7, 15, 22, 30, 32; and 

the centric, 49; neo-, 60 
cosmic life, 21, 24 
cosmic sense, 17, 21, 40, 41, 58, 78; 

meeting with Christie sense, 45; 

new form, 91 
cosmogenesis, 25, 33, 3*, 55, *5, 

*7, 94, 95t 97t 98, 104* 150; God 

o£ 57 
cosmos, 25, 33, 104, 150, 216, 227; 

convergence, 48; static, 45. See 

Cousins, Ewert, 10 
crab, 109 
crayfish, 109 

creation, 52, 138, 206, 216, 219, 226 
creative union, 54, 55, 139, 205-6, 

Cross, the, 89, 98, 99, 220 
Cuenot, Claude, 103, 192, 24111, 

Cynodictis, 161 
Cynodon, 161 

Dalai-Nor, Lake, 159 

Darwin, Charles, 108 

Darwinism, 84, 88, no 

death, 50, 51, <**, 7<S, 99, 1*9, 130, 
179, 190; collective, 194, 223; in 
God, 224; total, 92, 98, 143 

Dement, W., 9 

Demoulin, J. P., 107 

density, Christie and cosmic, 48 

detachment, 96, 212 

determinisms, 50, 51, 230, 233, 234, 

*35, *3<*, 338 
diaphany; Christie, 48; divine, 16, 

diminishment, 99 
Dire-Dawa, 164 



discovery, spirit of, 180, 183; T.\ 

133, 170-1 
disintegrations, 51 
divine, the, 44; omnipresence, 195; 

sense of, 42 
divine milieu, 76, 80, 95-6, 99» 100, 

122, 195, 223 
dogma; and creative union, 207, 

208; evolution of, 117 
dogmatics, 219 
Dollo. Louis, 158 
Dostoyevsky, R, 193 
Douaumont, 61, 66, 67, 178 
dreams, 9 

Dresch, Christine, 150, 151 
duration, 25, 66, 81, 84 
dyad, affective, 60 

earth, 16, 32, 86, 186; ageing and 
death of, 189-90, 194; as altar, 
1.19; 'Book of the', 192-3; 
emergence of other, 102; escape 
from, 190, 194; fulfilment of, 
47; and religions, 98; network 
of mankind over, 183-4; sense 
of, 17; soul of, 32; T/s 
appetite for, 41, 152, 153. See 

East, the, 23 

effort, human, 188, 189-90, 203, 204, 
212, 221; consecration of, 216; 
Gospel of, 214-17, 222; sublim- 
ation, 224; total, 197 

Egypt, 25, 158, 222 

El-Giyushi, mosque of, 170 

Elijah, 67, 78 

energetics, 51, 155 

energy, 22, 23, 29, 84; dissipation of, 
51; of hominization, 155; human, 

27, 155, 156; T.'s cult of, 25, 198 

entropy, 84-6 

Eocene period, 158, 159; carnivores, 

eros, 219-20; transformation into 
love of God, 220, 223 

ethnology, 145 

Etudes, 78, 152, 168, 181, 209 

evil, problem of, 144 

evolution, 8, 9, 10, 28, 51, 53, 57, 
78, 84-7, 89, 107, 113, 122, 143, 
149; and Christ, 93, 204; and 
culpable involution, 232; energy 
of, 96; God experienced in, 96; 
new Christianity driving force, 
99; Personal at peak of, 50; sense 
of, 91 ; T/s discovery of, 24-9; 
union with God, 144 

evolutionism, 84, 86-7 

evolutive, the, 7 

excentration, 96, 129 

failures, 51 

faith; in God and in universe, 213, 

214; in man, 193 ; new, 53 ; 

propulsive, 210 
Fall, the, 219 ; pre-cosmic, 232 
Fallot, Paul, 14611 
fauna; evolution of Chinese, 161-2; 

genetic structure, 164 
felids, 162 
Feminine, the, 16; T. and influence 

of, 58-61, 78, 79 
fire, 44, 58, <*9. 70, 71. 121, 123-4, 

fishes, in 

fbtism, 108, in, 112, 113 
Flanders, 172, 178 
fossils, 26, 161, 162-3 



Fourtou, Rene\ 158 

freedom, 234; experience of greater, 
172-5. 179. 180 

Freud, Sigmund, 35 

Froideterre, 177 

Front, the; bond of special life, 175- 
8, 180; energy discharged at, 167, 
174-5; experience of freedom, 
167, 172-5, 179, 180; and the 
Great Monad, 179-80; influence 
on T., 31 ; nostalgia for, 167-71, 

future; evolutive summit o£ 92; 
of man, 147, primacy of, 27, 137- 

Gaudefroy, Abbe* C, 192, 193 

Geological Survey of China, 154, 
157, 158, 161, 163 

geology, 20, 157, 15SHS0. 210 

geo-palaeontology, 156 

Gobi desert, 159 

God, 66 9 150, 159, 219, 225 et 
passim; centre and sphere, 191, 
195; centre of universe, 151; 
coincidence of world and, 52, 
200, 219, 231 ; Christification in 
Omega, 55; and contemporary 
man, 211-12, 216; convergence 
on, 235; creates by uniting, 226; 
experienced in evolution, 96; 
faith in world and in, 46-7, 102; 
at heart of matter, 15, 66; incar- 
nate, 54, 89; love of world and of, 
88-9, 102, 201-2, 203, 207, 221; 
and spiritual power of matter, 72, 
74, 75; T/s, 7. 41-4, 5*. 77; T/s 
sense of will o£ 47; and universe, 
79; and the war, 179, 180. See 

also Above, Ahead, Christ, 

Creative Union, Omega Point 
Gospel, 212; of human effort, 214- 

Goublaye de Menorval, Herve" de la, 

grace, 144. *>3. ^0 
Grandmaison, Leonce de, S. J., 168, 

granitization, 160 
Grassl, Pierre, 9 
gravity, 23, 33 
Great Monad, the, 182, 185, 186-92, 

Greene, Graham, 77 
Gregory the Great, St, 195 

Haardt, Claude-Marie, 150, 151 

Haardt, Georges-Marie, 150-1 

Haardt-Citroen Expedition, 150, 
153, 158 

habits, 234 

happiness, 140, 142 

Harbin, 159 

Harrar, the, 159, 164 

Harvard University, 145 

Harvard-Carnegie Expedition, 158 

Hastings (Sussex), 21, 25 

Hauts-de-Meuse, 172 

Heart of Jesus, T. and devotion to, 

heaven, 46, 47 

heredity, 112, 113 

heresies, 219 

holiness, 45, 46 

Holy Spirit, 79, 115 

hominization, 29, 40, 143 ; continu- 
ing, 36-8; energy of, 155; and 
Omega, 91; ultra-, 87, 97 



Hopei, 161 

horse, no, 183 

Human, the, 9, 15, 19. 29, 30, 3*, 33 
40, 90, 104, 152, 155; and the 
Centric, 49; general drift, 82; 
primacy, 88 

humanism, 89, 97; of Cosmogenesis, 
104; evolutionary, 91 ; neo-, 92, 
98, 104, 147-8; of Renaissance, 147 

Hurtebize, 177 

Huxley, Sir Julian, 91 

Hwang-ho River, 160. See also 
Yellow River 

hyper-physics, 9 

ideal, Christian and mankind's, 212, 

Ignatius of Loyola, St., 221-2 
Imitation of Christ, The, 46 
immortality, 149, 238 
Incarnation, 123, 149; of Christ in 

universe, 216; energy of, 48 
Incorruptible, the, 18, 22, 38-9 
incorruptibility, 20, 32, 33, 77 
India, 154, 158, 160, 163 
Ihdo-China, 153, 159 
Indus River, 163 
insects, 22, 77, in 
Institut Catholique, 153, 157 
Institut d'Ethnologie, 145 
Institut de l'Homme, 145 
Institut de Palfontologie Humaine, 

145. 192 
involution, 33, 36, 48, 143; culpable, 

iron, T.'s God of, 18, 19, 20, 44 
Irrawaddy River, 163 
Irreversible, the, 18 
irreversibility, 35, 143-4, 149, 194 

isolation, mankind's, 185-6, 187, 

189-90, 193 
issue, T.'s use of word, 193 

Jacob, 126 

James, William, 213, 223 

Janssens, Jean-Baptiste, S. J., 14811, 

Java, 154, 163 

Jersey, 23, 46, 61, 77, 78, IS*. 158 
Jesus, 54, 211 ; T. and humanity of, 

42, 43, 77* See also Child Jesus, 

John, St., 215 
Jouvet, M., 9 
justice, 212, 215 

Khingan Mts., 153, 159 
kingdom of God, 202, 204, 215, 221 
Kleitman, N., 9 
knowledge, 70, 71, 98, 144 
Koenigswald, G. H. R. von, 163 
Kwang-si, prov., 163, 164 

Laboratoire de G6ologie appliqule i 

l'Homme, 157 
labours, world's, 119, 120 
La Chapelle-aux-Saints Man, 153, 

La Feyrassie Man, 162 
Laigue, Forest of, 1 19 
Lamarck, J.-B. de, 108 
Lamarckism, no 
large numbers, effect of, 51, 230, 

Lassigny, 178 

Leconte de Noliy, P., I48n 
Lemaitre, Canon Georges, 148 
leopard, 109 



Le Roy, Edouard, 78, 192 
Leroy, Pierre, S. J., 162 
Iicent, Emile, S. J., 153, 162, 180 
life; death paroxysm of, 190-1 ; 

revolt against, 92; synthesis of, 229; 

T. and, 22, 25, 34-5, 152 
linguistics, 145 
living beings, succession of, 109, no, 

logicalist theory, 109-10, in, 112- 


Lonergan, Bernard, 10 

Louis XIV, 43 

love, 69, 139, 151 ; of God and of 
world, 88-9, 102, 200-2, 203, 207, 
221 ; power of transformation, 
50-2; T. and divine, 41 ; universe 
and human, 99. See also charity, 

Lyons, 119 

Madagascar, 141 

Maeterlinck, M., 213, 223 

magnitudes, collective, 31, 192 

Malaysia, 160 

mammals, in ; palaeontology of, 
158, 159, 160-2 

man, 29, 30, 78, 104, 109, U9; 
appearance of, 88, no; and 
creative union, 226; and escape 
from world, 57; fossil, 162-3; 
future of, 147; individual corpus* 
cular magnitude, 31 ; likeness to 
atom, 72; migrations of, 183, 192; 
oneness, 32; reflective, 143; 
science of, 155-6; sense of, 17, 
58, 91 ; and spiritual power of 
matter, 231 ; and the ultra-human, 
38. See also the Human 

Manchuria, 159 

Manichaeanism, 98 

mankind; critical level of maturity, 
194; effect of crises, 184; fulfil- 
ment of, 179; genetic structure, 
154, 164; isolation of, 185-6, 187, 
189-90, 191, 193 ; need for human 
effort, 188-9; network, 183-4; 
remembrance and offering of, 120- 
1 ; 'setting 9 of, 37; and spiritual 
activation, 96-7 

marriage, 59 

Marxism, 97, 148 

matter, 16, 22; appeal for T., 17, 20, 
21, 25, 77, 193; and Christ, 56, 
61 ; concrete, 227-8, 229, 239; and 
consciousness, 45; dead (inverse), 
331—3, 235, 236; elusiveness, 225- 
6; evil, 233* 235; formal, 227, 237; 
heart of, 15, 17. 24, 49. 55. 58; 
incarnate, 123-4; involution of, 
48, 190; liberated, 234-6; living, 
230-1, 235, 238; physico-chemical, 
229 ; relative, 229-30, 234; 
resuscitated, 236-8; secondary 
(new), 50, 233-4, 236; and Spirit, 
*6-9, 35, 46, 50, 191, 205-6, 227, 
229, 238; spiritual power of, 67- 
76, 78, 231 ; T. and Christification 
of, 47; total, 228-9; unitable, 227; 
universal, 228, 238; vitalized, 33- 
4; and world in genesis, 85 

mechanization, 50 

Mesohippus, no 

Mesolithic age, 164 

metaphysics, 9, 78, 143; classical, 
54; of union, 144 

metazoon, 78 

Meyer, Francois, 9 



mineral, the, 20, 152 

Miocene period, 153, 163 

Mokattam hills, 152, 170 

mole rats, 160, 161-2 

molecule, 78, 84, 239; micro- and 
mega-, 78 

monad, 60, 186, 191, 226, 227, 228, 
230, 238; fallen, 233; and 
resuscitated matter, 236-7. See also 
Great Monad 

moneron, no 

Mongolia, 180 

monism, 125 

monkey, 109 

monophyletism, no 

monotheism, 'evolved', 55 

moon, 183, 184, 186, 189-90; 
symbolism, 192, 194 

morals, 219-20; and man's new 
obligations, 220 

Mortier, Jeanne, 80-1 

mortification, 212 

multiple, the, 49, 122, 131, 228, 235, 
238; initial state of cosmos, 227, 
232; unification, 50, 226, 238 

Muret-et-Crouttes, 133 

mustelids, 161, 162 

mystical body, 205, 206, 217 

mysticism, 45, 54, 194, 222; pan- 
Christie, 47; T.'s, 77, 144 

Nant-le-Grand, 67 

Narbada River, 163 

Natural History Museum, Paris, 

153, 158, 192 
nature, 18, 22, 30, 46, 198; unity of 

forms, 108-9 
Neolithic age, 164 
Nihowan beds, 161 

Nile River, 170 

nitrogen, 229 

non-being, 205, 219, 226, 235 

noogenesis, 28, 29, 60, 94, 97, 99, 
104; focal point of, 3 8-9, 48 

noosphere, 29, 30, 96, 99, 182, 193 ; 
evolution of, 36-8; first use of 
term, 30-1, 78; influence of 
Omega, 41; stuff of, 32-5 

Obock, 164 

Oligocene; carnivores, 160; of the 

Ordos, 159, 161 
Omega point, 19, 39, 40, 4*. 4», 

144, 149; awareness of, 194; 

coincidence with Christ, 50, 51, 

56, 92, 95; God 'Christified' in, 

55; a postulate, 91-2 
orang-utan, 163 
Ordos desert, 119, 159, 161 
original sin, 232-3 
Orsmael, 123 
Other, the, 24, 82, 96 

paganism, 125-6, 219 

Palaeocene fauna, 158, 160 

Palaeolithic age, 163, 164 

palaeoneurology, 9 

palaeontology, 8-9, 22, 154, 157, 
158, 159; human, 146, 158, 159, 
161, 162-4; of mammals, 159, 

palaeo-sociology, 146 

Palestine, 55 

Pamir Plateau, 153, 159 

pan-amorization, 88 

Pan-Christie, 60 

Pan-Christism, 55 



pantheism, 24, 66, 97, 122, 207, 208, 

211, 214, 222 
Paris, 178 
Parousia, 178 
participated being, 54, 95 
passion, 83 
passivity, 204, 223 
past, the, 137 
paten, 120 
Paul, St., 54, 104, 215; and cosmic 

Christ, 93 
peace, 178, 179, 180 
Peguy, Charles, 148, 180, 193, 194 
Pei, W. G., 164 
Pri-Shan, 159 
Peking, 163 
Peking Man, 154 
perception, 233 
Personal, the, 19* 47. 50 
personalization, 50, 83 
Petre-Quadens, O., 9 
phenomenology, 143 
Phenomenon of Man, 30, 78, 90, 

104, 155-6 
philosophy, 9, 10; of union, 197 
phosphorites, Le Quercy, 158, 160, 

physicalist theory, 103, 110-11 
physics, 22, 23, 24, 84, 155. 156, 233 • 

238; atomic, 78; T.'s, 144 
physiography, 159 
Pithecanthropus, 154, 163 
Piveteau, Jean, 8-9 
planetarity, human, 30 
Planetary, the, 78 
planetization, 30, 192, 194 
planets, 56 
plants, 22 
Plato, 36, 220 

pleiad, 226, 228-9 

Pleistocene period, 154, 160, 161, 

plenitude, sense of, 16-17, 19, 21, 

22, 23, 26, 28, 39, 42 
pleromic sense, 17 
pleromization, 57, 80 
Pliocene fauna, 161 
Plural, the, 30 
plurality, 205, 228, 229, 230, 232, 

poly-phyletism, no, in 
Pontian; fauna, 161, 162; Red 

Earths, 160 
power, 121, 122 
prayer, 96, 122, 214, 219; to Christ 

in 'Mass on the World 9 , 130-4; 

to the Ever-Greater Christ, 7, 55- 

8; of T. to express message, 80, 

prehistory, 145-6, 159 
pride, 232 
progress, 69, 107, 108; Christian 

morals and human, 219; and 

interior automatisms, 233, 234, 

239; man's, 148, 184, 189; true, 

195; and work, 204 
promised land, 102, 171 
psychism, 78 
purity, 71-2, 133, 224 

quartz, 19 

Quaternary age, 88, 154 

quietism, 125, 126 

Rahner, Karl, 10 

Recherche Nationale srientifique, 157 

Recherches de Science religieuse, 209 



Redemption, 149 
reflection, 30, 57, 60, 88, 149; 

collective, 38, 143; critical point 

of, 33. 35; ultra-, 56 
Reflective, the, 78 
religion, 7, 91; attitude of priests 

and religious, 217; comparative, 88 ; 

of evolution, 97; phenomenon of, 

8; and science, 98, 144, 198 
renunciation, 203, 204, 207, 212; 

and human effort, 220, 221 
research, 37, 52; law of work and, 

resurrection, 89, 99, 131, 
revelation, 149, 207, 214, 215; and 

science, 81, 83; and the universe, 

Richthofen Yellow Earths, 160 
Rockefeller Foundation, 163 
Rome, I48n, ison, 213 
Rosnay,Joelde, 9 
Rueff, Jacques, 156 
Russell, Bertrand, 10 

Sacred Heart, see Heart of Jesus 

Sahara desert, 150 

Sarcenat, 77 

Schmitz-Moormann, Karl, 108, 26m 

Scholasticism, 9-10, 227 

Schurl, Eduard, 213, 223 

science, 7, 10, 37, 51, 85, 88, 115, 
230; and religion, 98, 144, 198, 
217; and revelation, 81, 83 

Scientific Society of Cairo, 158 

Seward, A. C, 158 

Shan-si, prov., 161 

Shantung, 153, 159 

Shara-osso-gol River, 119, 161 

Simpson, George Gaylord, 8 

sin, 43. Sec also original sin 

Sinatithropus, 154, 163 

Singapore, 163 

Smith-Woodward, Sir Arthur, 158 

socialization, 37, 143 

Socicte* Geplogique de France, 157 

Societe* Jersiaise, 158 

Society of Jesus, 21, 147 

sociodynamics, 156 

sociology, 217 

sociometry, 155-6 

Somaliland, French, 159 

soul(s), 26, 78, 191, 205, 219; and 
attributes of matter, 206; alliances 
of, 138, 195; common, 188; 
effect of vice and pride, 232; 
elect and isolated, 238; of the 
Front, 175, 178; and progress, 
195; separated, 236, 237; and 
unification, 230-1, 237 

soul of the world, 69, 215, 223 

Souville, 178 

Sparnacian fauna, 158, 160 

Speaight, Robert, 78 

species, 109, in 

spirit, 16, 39, 104, 120, 138-9; 
development of, 203; effort 
towards self-concentration, 205; 
in man, 78; and matter, 26-9, 35, 
46, 50, 191, 205-<S, 227, 229, 238; 
primacy, 27, 148, 216; second 
species, 45; transposition of 
notion, 60 

spirit of the earth, 69 

spiritualization, 45, 49, 206, 224, 
226, 227, 229-31, 232, 235, 238; 
and materialization, 233-4 

Stewart, John, 155 

Strasbourg, 209 




stuff; of the cosmos, 26-7, 29, 30, 
52, 143; of the noosphere, 32-5; 
of things, 17, 23, 33, 35, 82, 86; 
of the universe, 21, 84 

Suess, Eduard, 30, 182 

suffering, 52, 119 

super-centration, 60 

super-charity, 55 

super-Christ, 55 

supernatural, the, 221, 223 

Sussex, 21, 26, 152, 158 

synthesis, era o£ 8 

Tavannes tunnel, 176, 180 

technology, 37, 98 

tectonics, 159 

Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre; early 
attraction for rocks and natural 
history, 19-23, 46, 152; mother's 
influence, 17, 41-2, 44; effect of 
War, 29, 31, 47, 192; loyalty to 
Church, 1 16-17, 209; spirit of 
discovery, 133, 1 70-1 ; professional 
career, 152-4, 157-64; restrictions 
on writing, 8, 11 ; Rome visit, 
147-50; exile in New York, 80; 
fundamental vision, 8, 15-16, 83, 
101, 196-208; influence since 
death, 8-10. See also separate 
subject headings 

Address to International Congress 
S.J., 210 
Address at the wedding of 
C. Dresch and C. M. Haardt, 
Address at the wedding of M. and 
Mme de la Goublaye de 
Menorval, 140-2 

'Atomism of Spirit, The', 193, 194, 


'Awaited Word, The', 210 
'Basis of my Attitude, The 9 , 147- 

'Christie, The', 7, 8, 80-102, 193, 


'Cosmic Life 9 , 192, 195, 196, 203 
'Creative Union*, 9, 193, 198, 205 
'Crise Prisente, La\ 180 
'Death-barrier and co-reflection*, 

Diary, last page, 103-4. See also 

'End of the species, The*, 193, 194 
'Eternal Feminine, The*, 79, 223 
'Faith in Man*, 210 
'Faith in Peace*, 180 
'For Odette and for Jean*, 135-9, 


'Forma Christ? , 209 
'Great event foreshadowed, A', 

'Great Monad, The*, 78, 181, 

182-95, 223 
'Heart of Matter, The*, 7, 15-55, 

80, 81, 102 

'Heart of the Problem, The*, 210 
'Hominization*, 78, 181 
'How I believe*, 36, 78, 192, 222 
'How may we conceive and hope 

that human unanimity will be 

realized on Earth?', 194 
'How the Transformist Question 

presents itself', 107 
'Human Energy*, 180, 193, 223 
'Human rebound of evolution, 

The*, 193 
'Hymn to Matter*, 75-7, 79 



Teilhard de Chardin, Pierre 
Writings [contd.] 
Journal, 9, 107, 108 
'Mass on the World, The', 8, 47, 
32, 80, 81, 83, HSH34» 194 
'Mastery of the World and the 
Kingdom of God 9 , 180, 209 
Milieu Divin, U (The Divine 
Milieu), 8, 46, 47-8, 52, 78, 80, 

'Modern Unbelief, 210 
'Moment of choice, The 9 , 180 
'My Fundamental Virion 9 , 223 
'My Intellectual Position 9 , 143-4 
'My Phenomenon of Mart, 149-50 
'My Universe 9 (1918), 77, 196- 


'My Universe 9 (1924). 223 
'Mystical Milieu, The', 167 
'Names of Matter, Hie 9 , 225-39 
'Nostalgia for the Front 9 , 78, 167- 

81, 182, 192 
'Note on the Essence of Trans- 

formism 9 , 107-14 
'Note on the Presentation of the 

Gospel in a New Age 9 , 209-24 
Note on Progress, A\ 107, 114 
'Note on Teaching of the Pre- 
history 9 , 145-6 

On my attitude to the official 

Church', 115-18 
Phenomenon of Man, The, 8, 147, 

'Phenomenon of Man, The 9 , 155- 

*Prayer to the ever-greater 

Christ 9 , 7, 55-8 
TPriest, The 9 , 102, I34n 
•Promised Land, The 9 , 180 

'Qualifications, Career, Eeld- 
Work and Writings of Pierre 
Teilhard de Chardin 9 , 157-64 

'Reflections on the compression of 
mankind 9 , 193 

'Reflections on the conversion of 
the world 9 , 210 

Retreat Notes, 80 

'Salvation of Mankind, The 9 , 181 

'Scientific Career of Pierre 
Teilhard de Chardin, The 9 , 152- 


'Singularities of the human 
species, The 9 , 193 

'Sketch of a personalistic universe 9 , 

'Soul of the World, The', 20811, 
223, 238 

'Spirit of the Earth, The', 223 
'Spiritual Power of Matter, The 9 , 
67-77» 7»» 79, 225, 238 
'Struggle against the Multitude, 
The 9 , 9, 196 

Three Stories in the style of 
Benson 9 , 61-7, 78, 182 
Teilhard d'Eyry, Jean, 135-6 
Teillard-Ghambon, Marguerite, 167, 

196, 209, 225 
Terra, Helmut de, 163 
Tertiary age, 36, 153, 158, 161 
theism, 97 

theology; and coincidence of God 
and cosmos, 218-19, 220; T. 9 s 
influence, 9, 10-11 
thought, 37, 60, 144, 218; and 
'changing 9 of God, 53; conver- 
gence of, 82; planetary term of, 
92; power of, 71 ; transformation 
of matter into, 28, 35 



totalization, 37, 39, 50, 194 
Touraine, 136, 139 
Transfiguration, the, 63 
transformation, 223 
transformism, 107, 108, 111-14 
transubstantiation, universal, 94, 

Troussard, Paul, S. J., 46, 78 
truth, 69, 102, 115, 207-8, 210, 215, 

Tsingling Mts., 159 

ultra-human, 38, 45, 53, 56, 60, 96, 
104, 152, 155; essential compon- 
ents, 102; faith in, 46-7 

unconscious, the, 15, 233 

unification, 194 

union, 16; biological laws, 28, 38; 
'differentiates', 78, 141 ; philosophy 
o£ 197. See also creative union 

unity; of mankind, 121, 124, 184-5, 
193, 213, 214, 215; pursuit of, 
140-1; of universe, 191, 199 

universal, the, 19, 30, 47; T/s sense 
of, 22, 77, 78, 206, 215 

universe; centred, 10, 94, 104, 207; 
Christified, 55, 95; consistence, 39, 
138; convergence, 52, 56, 86, 91, 
95, 99; divinization, 123-7, i34n; 
and entropy, 85; evolution, 10, 25, 
28; expanding, 148; higher unity 
of, 191; and man, 99, 214, 215; 
relative materiality, 238; T/s, 16, 
23, 31, 40-1, 47, 48, 50, I4»» 150, 
198, 199; vastness, 93. See also 
Christ, cosmos, God, world 

Urban VIII, pope, 79 

Valensin, Auguste, S. J., 180 

Vatican Council 1, 150 
Vatican Council II, 10 
Verdun, 31, 61, 78, 176, 180 
Vertus, 182 
vice, 232 

Villafranchian fauna, 161 
virginity, 204 
volcanoes, 159 

war; effect on mankind, 178, 184; 
and peace, 179, 180-1; spirit ofi 

War, Great, 35, 66, 184, 186, 215, 
222; effect of, 178 

Wei-Chang, 159 

Wells, H. G., 213, 223 

Whitehead, A. N., 10 

Whole, the, 82, 212, 214; T/s sense 
of, 20, 21 

Wilson, T. Woodrow, 213 

wine, 119; symbolism, 94, 119-20, 

Word, 121-3; incarnate, 42, 76, 79, 
99, 123, I34n 

work, 203, 212 

world, 19, 45, 149, 189, 191; 
coincidence of God and, 52, 200, 
219, 231; consecration of, 123, 
124, 129, 130; convergence, 49, 
94, 148; conversion, 210-11, 221; 
and creative union, 54; dominance, 
211-12; faith in, 102, 184, 192; 
initiation into, 181 ; love of God 
and of, 88, 102, 200-2, 203, 207; 
need for new faith and charity, 53; 
the new, 55, 56; sacrament of, 
124-5, u6, 127-9; in state of 
genesis, 85; supernaturalization, 
207-8, 215; thinking, 186, 187; 




world [contd.] Yellow River, 153. See also Hwang- 
transfiguration for T., 83 ; ho 
unification of, 102; a work to be Yperll Canal, 178 
carried through, 203. See also Ypres, 178 
cosmos, earth, universe Yser River, 31 

Yushe basin, 161 

Yale-Cambridge Expedition, 158 

'Yellow' Expedition, see Haardt- zest for being, 203 

Citroen Expedition zoology, 22, 84, 162 


Pierre Teilhard de Ch ardin was born and raised in Auvergne, 
France. A lifelong member of the Society of Jesus, he also 
studied physics, chemistry, geology, and palaeontology. He 
was a volunteer stretcher bearer in the First World War and 
received the Military Medal and the Legion of Honor. 

Following the war, he lived for many years in China and was 
a major participant in the discovery and classification of Pe- 
king Man. His academic distinctions included a professorship 
in geology at the Catholic Institute of Paris, and directorships 
of the National Geographic Survey of China and the National 
Research Center of France. 

Teilhard lived in New York City after the Second World 
War and continued his philosophic work there under the aus- 
pices of the Wenner-Gren Foundation until his death. He is 
buried in the United States. 

During his lifetime Pere Teilhard was barred by his religious 
superiors from teaching and publishing his philosophical and 
religious works. His manuscripts, which he bequeathed to a 
friend, were published posthumously — among them such ma- 
jor works as The Phenomenon of Man and The Divine Milieu. The 
latest works of Pere Teilhard published in the United States 
are Human Energy, Activation of Energy, Christianity and Evolu- 
tion, and Toward the Future. 

Books by Pierre Teilhard de Chardin 

available in Harvest paperback editions 

from Harcourt Brace & Company